How to Ace That Job Interview!
Learn to interview like a pro, its easy! Follow these straight-forward pointers to amp your confidence and demonstrate your professionalism!
Congratulations! If you are at this point in your job search, you have already written an impressive resume and composed a professional cover letter. If a manager has contacted you for an interview, it means you did a good job. Well done!
A question often asked by job seekers at this point in the process is "Now what?" Interviewing can seem like a daunting and nerve-wracking task, but do not be intimidated by the process. It is simply a conversation between two people, and by following a few simple rules, you will feel prepared and confident as you engage in this next step of the hiring process.
Dress for success - You need to ensure that you have the proper attire well before the big day arrives. Be sure to dress appropriately for the company and the position. If you are applying for a job at an auto shop, then there is no need for a suit and tie, but you should look professional. Wear a nice pair of jeans or khaki pants and a polo shirt. Remember that you may need to dress more formally for an interview in the corporate business world. It is always better to be slightly overdressed (too professional) than underdressed (sloppy). Also, it doesn't have to be expensive- check out thrift stores or discount outlets for a new set of clothing.
Do a Little Grooming - No one wants to have a conversation with you if you are constantly brushing the hair out of your eyes. You need to freshen up! If your hair is too long, trim it, or style it so that it appears neat yet chic! If your fingernails show dirt underneath, cut and clean them. If your beard is scraggly, tidy it up or shave it off! You need to present yourself as clean and confident.
Arrive early and be prepared - Do not be late! In fact, to ensure that you have an adequate amount of time, just plan on arriving 10-15 minutes early. You'll have a time buffer, and it shows responsibility to the hiring manager. Also, it is always good to bring extra copies of your resume as well a notebook for jotting down notes. If references or a portfolio are required, be sure to have those on hand as well.
Study your Resume - Familiarize yourself with the information you provided in your resume. Sometimes when you are in a stressful situation, facts and figures on your resume can get garbled in your mind. You may have written your resume weeks before an interview, and then when interview time comes, you probably could forget some of that information. Most questions a recruiter asks will be based on your resume, so be sure that you know that information well!
Remain Professional and Concise in Conversation - Always be sure to answer the question that the recruiter asked, and be mindful of talking too long. Stay concise and on topic! You will want to avoid using slang or curse words. You need to be professional and courteous. Do not discuss in detail anything about your personal life. Hiring managers will often come across as friendly and laid back to gauge how you react to them. They might be testing you, so be aware of this. If you are comfortable enough discussing the details of your personal life with a recruiter, then you might just do the same thing with a client of the company, which would be a red flag for any hiring manager. Be sure to remain professional!
Do Not Discredit Previous Employers - Keep in mind that a recruiter will be attempting to solicit as much information from you as they possibly can. You need to be very tactful when discussing your previous employers. Always remain positive and respectful. Even if there was a disagreement between you and your prior employer or manager, do your best to present the situation as diplomatically as possible if the interviewer asks about it. If they don't ask, avoid the topic altogether.
Use Specific Examples - Avoid describing yourself in generic, overused terms. It is better to provide a recruiter with a unique story that illustrates your capabilities. For example, if you were asked, "What is your greatest strength in the workplace?" Do not answer, "I am detail-oriented." Instead, provide them with a particular time that you were detail-oriented: "While I was working as a waiter, I overheard a husband tell his wife Happy Birthday. At the end of the meal, I brought her a piece of cake with a lit candle on top." This simple story illustrates to the hiring manager that you truly are a detail person, and it shows that you care about your clients or guests. To have these examples ready for an interview, you will need to revisit your CV and work history. In doing so, try to think of specific situations where you excelled as an employee.
Demonstrate an Interest in the Company - At the conclusion of the interview, the interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions, which gives you a chance to show your interest in the company. Do a little research ahead of time, and come into the interview with a few questions of your own. You could say something like, "I recently read that your company, Bob's Organic Coffee Roasters, is hoping to expand into international markets. Could you give me any more information on which areas they are targeting?" By asking a few simple questions, you may set yourself apart as a candidate who truly has an interest in the company and position. It also concludes the interview on a high note and is the last thing that remains in the mind of the recruiter.
Say Thank You - Though it is not mandatory, it is polite to send a handwritten "Thank You" note to a recruiter after an interview. By doing so, you accomplish two things: you show your gratitude for the time that the recruiter took to meet with you, and you remind the recruiter that you are still interested and available.
Use these simple rules as a guideline while preparing for your interview, and you will be well on your way to securing that job. Stay focused, professional, and on task. If you take the time to prepare, you can walk into your interview with poise and confidence. Now it's time to get out there and get to work!