Job Interview Tips

After your resume has gotten you in the door, it’s time for the job interview. Follow these job interview tips and you’ll hit all the high points, avoid the pitfalls, and get closer to getting that job.

Before the Interview

The greatest of all interview tips is this: what you do beforehand is more important than what you do there. Lack of preparation will ruin an interview, even for the best candidates. Never go into an interview cold.

First, research the company. Check their web site, ask friends and family if they or anyone they know may have had dealings with them, and check business publications. Find out all you can. A common interview question is, “what do you know about our company?” If your answer is “I know is you’re hiring and I need a job,” you’re in trouble. You need to do the research to show them you are enthusiastic about them and the job.

Next, you need to prepare. Search for lists of common interview questions. Go over your resume and prepare to explain everything. If you were an interviewer, what would you ask someone in your position? Look over the job listing and highlight areas where it correlates to your experience and have every talking point down cold. When you’re ready, role-play the interview with a friend. Knowing exactly how to answer questions eliminates the unknown and builds confidence. Lastly, prepare a list of questions you want to ask about the job and the company. This also shows interest and enthusiasm.

Interview Day

On interview day, the goal is to be professional. You need to conduct yourself like the type of person you would hire. Dress in a conservative business suit. Nothing ostentatious and please, no heavy cologne. Arrive at least 15 minutes early. When you arrive, be courteous to the receptionist and every single person you meet. You never know who will give feedback to the employer. Shake hands with everyone and make eye contact. Remember that you are working to project a professional aura constantly.

During the interview, remember your role playing, preparation, and the confidence it inspired in you. You already know the answers to these questions, right? Don’t stray or ramble. Answer questions succinctly and confidently and be sure to actively listen to the interviewer instead of being quick to answer. Remember to stay away from negativity and lying or spinning. Answer questions as honestly as possible without badmouthing anyone you have worked with in the past or fictionalizing your deeds. The penalty for being caught in a lie is just not worth the risk. Just work to steer the conversation toward your strengths. When it is your turn to ask questions, ask about some specifics of the job or the company. This shows enthusiasm. Finally, be sure to end the interview with a handshake and a thank you, and ask what the next step win the process will be. End the interview like you ended your cover letter: with an invitation to contact you if they have any further questions or to meet again. Also, be sure to thank the receptionist on the way out. You never know.

After the Interview

On interview day, you made sure to get business cards from your interviewers, right? Well, make sure you did. When you get home from the interview, you need to at least email – hand written letters are better – everyone you met with to thank them for their time and, again, extend them the option to contact you if they need to for anything. Courtesy costs nothing but it does pay off.