A job interview can be stressful even under the best of circumstances but if you are unemployed or have some other factor that increases its importance, it can be absolutely terrifying. However, doing your research and being well prepared will certainly take alot of the anxiety out of the process. Here are some tips that will help put you in the best position to succeed:
In the Days Before the Interview
- Based on the job description or job information you have received, make a list of the major requirements for the job. Then make a list of the qualities you possess that fit those requirements.
- Research the company as thoroughly as possible.
- Prepare a 60-second personal statement describing yourself, your business and educational history concisely. Don’t be evasive, but beware of giving too much information.
- Prepare several success stories to answer behavioral interview questions (“Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of a time…”).
- List several questions to ask the interviewer about the job, the company and/or the industry.
- Make certain your references are aware that they may be contacted about you.
- Discuss your salary needs and expectations honestly with your recruiter and let your recruiter know about any upcoming needs for time off.
Prepare Your Interview Answers
Be ready to answer common interview questions such as these:
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why did you leave your last position, or why are you leaving your current position?
- What do you know about this company?
- What are your goals?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What has been your most significant achievement?
- How would your last boss and colleagues describe you?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your salary expectations? (Politely refer to the recruiter, if possible.)
Before You Go to the Interview
- After you finish the preparations above, discuss any questions you may have concerning the interview with your recruiter.
- Do you look professional? Check yourself in the mirror; part of your confidence will come from looking good.
- Take these items to the interview:
- Several copies of your resume on quality paper.
- A pad of paper on which to take notes, though notes are optional.
- Directions to the interview site.
- Arrive early — enter the building 10 minutes before your appointment.
- Review your prepared stories and answers.
- Go to the restroom and check your appearance one last time.
- Announce yourself to the receptionist in a professional manner.
- Stand and greet your interviewer with a hearty — not bone-crushing — handshake.
- Smile and maintain eye contact.
During the Interview
- Try to focus on the points you have prepared without sounding rehearsed or stiff.
- Relax and enjoy the conversation.
- Learn what you can about the company.
- Ask questions and listen; read between the lines.
- Ask for the job.
- At the conclusion, thank the interviewer and determine the next steps.
After the Interview
- As soon as possible, write down what you are thinking and feeling.
- Contact your recruiter to discuss your perceptions of the interview; be candid about your impressions and your interest in continuing the process.
- Write an email thank-you letter, reminding the interviewer briefly of your qualities and interest in the position. Send the letter to your recruiter to proof it and forward it to the interviewer.
- Your recruiter will normally manage the follow up for additional interviews, etc. If you are contacted directly by the employer, be sure to contact your recruiter with the information.