You got the interview! Now what?
Congratulations! All that hard work perfecting your resume and cover letter paid off and you have an interview! Now it’s time to put your best foot forward. Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you land the job.
- Do your homework – and by that I mean, research the company you are interviewing with (and I bet you thought you were done with homework!). Showing that you know a little bit about the company shows you are proactive – which is a great quality in someone you might hire!
- Practice, practice, practice! – Just like anything else, to perfect your interview skills, you must practice. Have a friend, a parent or a mentor sit down and conduct a practice interview (there are some practice questions below). This will help get rid of any pre-interview jitters you might have by helping you feel more prepared.
- Dress professionally – even if you’re interviewing for a casual dress job – wear a suit. And lean toward the conservative side. That means – remove the purple nail polish (and the hair!) and no wild print purses, brief cases or ties.
- Be confident – Speak confidently (but not cocky!), shake hands firmly, introduce yourself confidently, look people in the eye and believe in yourself.
- Listen carefully and be direct – give examples as to how your previous jobs or education relate to the position you are interviewing for and what you’ve learned from your past experience.
- Be positive – Although your boss from your last job may have been horrible, your potential employer doesn’t need to hear about it. Try to turn your bad experience into a lesson learned – smack talking your past boss could make your interviewer think you would do the same thing to them!
- Ask questions – You might be trying to land the job, but you should make sure the job is one that you actually want. Make note of what is important to you before you go to the interview and don’t be afraid to ask.
- Be yourself – The bottom line is – your potential employer knows they will be spending a LOT of time with whomever they hire. So be your own, loveable, self.
- Be thankful – Either with an email, phone call or even snail mail (don’t forget the stamp!), send your interviewer a note thanking them for their time and briefly reiterate that you are interested in the job.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – Just because you got an interview does not give you a guaranteed job offer. Keep searching! Send your resume out and follow up with other available positions you’re interested in – and you’ll be bringing home a paycheck in no time.
Time to Practice (Remember that “Practice” tip?)Here are a few questions you can expect any interviewer to ask:
- Tell me about yourself? – This is often used as an icebreaker in an interview. Talk briefly about your professional experience (no, they aren’t asking for the latest gossip on your new relationship) and what led you to apply for the position.
- What are your strengths? – Be sure you relate your answer to how it would be beneficial to the position you are interviewing for.
- What are your weaknesses? – We all have weaknesses, no one expects you to be perfect! But you can put a positive spin on your response by explaining what you do to overcome any challenges you face.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 (or 10) years? – Having a plan for your future shows you are goal oriented. But be careful not to sound like you plan to use the company as a stepping-stone toward something better. Try to think about positions within the company you’d like to see yourself in.
- Why do you think you would be good for this position? – Well…why do you? You should have given this question quite a bit of thought before even applying. Be honest and give examples.
- Why did you leave your last job? – Again, be sure to be positive – saying things like “I was ready for a new challenge” sounds a lot better than “my last job was boring.”