Prep yourself about the company before the interview.You might not have enough idea about the company when you applied for a job but that has to change between the time you’re asked for an interview and the time you’re sitting in there explaining why you want to work for the place so badly. Not knowing much about the place you’re interviewing at reveals to the interviewers that you don’t really care and that sets the interview offside from the beginning. Do some background research now and gather as much information about the organization as possible. Some ways to do this include:
- Read the company’s or organization’s annual report and related documents. Know all about their latest ventures, financial situation, philanthropic endeavors, awards and achievements. In particular, know what they expect from staff and how they reward high performing staff.
- Do a search online for the company or organization. Few businesses stay offline, so even if it’s just a Facebook page, you can find out information about your potential employer. Read through the website or related pages and soak up everything you can.
- Be knowledgeable about the company’s or organization’s products and/or services, expertise, and milestones. If there is a long history, read up on it.
- Avoid rote learning company facts. They don’t want facts recited back at them; as you learn, think about how your job skills will match what you’ve learned and what you can do to help the company or organization achieve more of the goals its aiming for
Be prepared with essentials. Take extra two or three copies of your resume, cover letter, references, college transcripts, professional documents, and anything else needed with you. Do this even though you already submitted them earlier.
- Ensure that all documents produced by you are well typed, free of typos and organized.
- Carry everything in an ordered file or folder; this neatness and organization already reveals the level of your professionalism when the interviewer sees you refer to it or hand documents to them from it.
- Keep a pen, small notepad and a flash drive with your important documents in it in case they want a soft copy of anything.
Take some time before the interview to run through some “practice questions.” Plan to have specific examples of past challenges and successes you had, and gear your answer towards the job for which you are applying. For instance, if you are interviewing for a management position, be prepared to give examples on how you motivated people, or effectively led a group of individuals to achieve company objectives.
Dress appropriately.First impressions last. It is human nature to presume that a person turning up in jeans to an office job really doesn’t have their mind on the job and therefore really doesn’t want the job. Same for unironed clothing, clothing with obvious stains, disheveled clothing, and clothing that is too revealing or informal. Once the interviewers have a negative impression from your clothing, it’s hard to shake this. Don’t allow your clothes to let you down; this is one area in which you can excel. And be sure that over-dressing is always preferred to under-dressing for a job interview; it shows you’re serious about the job.
- For men: wear professional suits, slacks, and a formal shirt. Make sure your socks match your pants; alternately, match your shoe color.
- For women: Wear a suit with either pants or skirts.
- Don’t neglect the shoes. People do look! Make sure they’re polished and match the outfit.
Use excellent grooming – comb or brush your hair neatly, clean your teeth, all the usual things your mom taught you.
Be punctual.Always arrive 15 to 20 minutes before the interview time. Allow time to park your car or for the public transportation to get you where you need to be. Go inside the building and use the additional time to relax until you are called on. Practice some deep breathing while you wait and go over interview answers in your head if you need to, otherwise just focus on peaceful thoughts. This way you don’t have to rush in, and you can stay calm and focused during interview.
- You may be the best in your field but also least punctual person in your region. However, your employer doesn’t need to know this yet. If you do have a problem with always been late, raise this with your boss after you’ve landed the job and work out special dispensations for your night owl tendencies then. Societies that value punctuality do not place talent before being on time, so don’t push your luck by being late to the interview.
Greet readily and smile. . When you enter the interview room and meet the interviewers, be respectful to them and greet them with a smile on your face. When you are asked to have a seat, sit up straight and stay confident. This way you will look professional and mature, as well as setting them at ease about your intention to listen and respond with eagerness.
- Always bear in mind that you’re human and your interviewers are too. And basically, humans want to get along with one another. So, being affable and likable is a big part of selling yourself; your interviewers are trying to see if you are someone who will “fit in”.
Stay calm.There might be situations when you’re asked something and you think you don’t have clue as to how to answer. Don’t be nervous – the fact is you think you don’t know but if you’ve done your research as outlined earlier, there will always be an answer, even if it has to be a lateral one.
- If you don’t know something technical, answer confidently that that area is not your field of expertise and you would like to gain knowledge on that in future.
- Answer all the questions politely and take notes if required.
Be precise. When asked about your qualifications and why they should hire you, be specific. State in a way that catches interviewers’ attention and make them feel that they would make a mistake if you are not hired.
Prepare for some delicate questions.
Most of the time, interviewers ask some tricky questions because these are how they separate the people they want to work with from everyone else. And quite simply, if you’re not well prepared, you will get caught off-guard. So be ready to answer the typical questions that throw many interviewees:
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you think they should hire you? Tell them something unique about yourself.
- Why did you leave your previous job? What went wrong?
Be professional about phone interviews. If you have a phone interview always remember the only impression your interviewer can get about you is the way you speak. Make sure you use right key words to create a good feeling. Smile when you talk and stay confident because interviewer can sense that even though s/he can’t see you.
Be courteous.If you get the job you applied for, don’t forget to send a thank you email or a note. And even if you don’t get it, it can’t hurt to say thank you for their time. Going that extra mile even when you don’t get the job can be something that gets remembered when they do need someone with your skills base and they still have your notes on file. You might be their second choice, or tied for first and showing the appropriate professional courtesy may give you the advantage you need over their other choice. Never shut the door.
Ask Questions.You will be given the opportunity to ask questions. Remember, you are interviewing them as well. The time to find out you don’t like the manager or the team is before you’re hired. Recall scenarios you didn’t like at previous jobs and ask how they handle the same situation. You may only get to ask one or two questions, so make them count. For example, if you like structure and documented processes, ask about their Procedures Manual. If they tell you their procedures aren’t fully documented, you might not be a good fit there (or you may be able to document their processes for them for extra points).