You’ve put in the work of tailoring your resume to a specific position and you got a call that they want to interview you. This is an exciting development, of course, but don’t assume you are a shoo-in or believe that just showing up and charming your interviewer will land you the job. You could be one of dozens or more candidates all vying for the same position, so make sure you outshine the competition by conducting some research and planning before your interview.
Research the company
Visit the employer’s website and social media profiles or do a Google search for information on the company, so you will be able to share your views and ideas about it during your interview. Try to pinpoint the skills, experiences and interests they are looking for in a candidate. Search for details such as the size of the company (regarding employees or annual sales), what services or products they provide, what their business plan is, any recent news or press about them and so on.
Do some legwork before you head in for your interview by calling the person who scheduled it. Find out from them who you will be talking with, such as your potential manager or HR. Use this call to get a detailed job description if you don’t have it, find out what the dress code is, and get directions to the office so you aren’t scrambling for them at the last minute.
It is important to maintain proper interview etiquette in order to make a great impression. Greet any staff you encounter and especially your interviewer(s) in a polite yet enthusiastic manner. Always be aware of your body language and the effects it may have on others. Be sure to shake hands firmly, make plenty of eye contact, remember to smile and try to relax and sit naturally, being careful not to slouch or lean back.
First of all, allow your personality to shine through as you speak. Listening matters just as much as answering questions during an interview, so pay close attention to the conversation; appearing interested will help build rapport with the interviewer. Practicing your interview skills with a friend or family member will give you a chance to anticipate potential questions and formulate appropriate answers. Give answers concisely and take a brief pause to compose your thoughts before answering any difficult questions. Emphasize your best characteristics, experiences and accomplishments which correlate with the position you are interviewing for. Also plan to ask your interviewer some relevant questions of your own, as this will demonstrate your interest in the role.
It’s all in the details
The night before you interview, choose your outfit (overdressing is encouraged) and get a good night’s rest, and the day of, eat a healthy breakfast to fuel your brain. Make sure you leave with plenty of time so if there are any traffic or parking issues, you won’t end up frazzled right before you go in.
Calm your nerves
Nerves have a funny way of making us forget the simplest tasks, including listening. Getting your nerves under control will help you focus, get into the conversation and appear attentive. Simple techniques such as exercising and using the restroom before your interview, avoiding too much caffeine beforehand and taking deep breaths and speaking in a calm fashion really help. Remember to keep things in perspective as the worst that can happen is not landing the job. Envision yourself in total control during your interview and think positively before it begins. Good luck!