You’ve sent out your resume to a number of companies, attended all of the networking events, and you have finally received the call for an in-person interview. Now what? The interview process is one that can either make or break your job search. It is the last step before landing your dream job and it is one that you can’t afford to mess up. How do you make an impression that will go above and beyond the other candidates?
Research the company:
You want to go into the interview feeling confident about your knowledge of the company. Do your homework before the interview: know what their mission statement is, the company history, and keep an eye out for their name in the headlines. Gather this information and use it for your benefit. This will allow you to be able to ask questions throughout the interview, showing that you know more than just the basics.
Arrive early and be prepared:
If you aren’t ten minutes early, you’re late! Make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Give yourself plenty of time for travel especially if you have never been to the area before. This will give you plenty of cushion time in case you run into traffic, or get lost.
Before leaving the house: make sure you have the necessities: resume (one copy for each interviewer, plus a couple extra just in case), business cards, references, a list of prepared questions to ask, portfolio with pen and paper, and most importantly, your confidence.
Before leaving the car: toss out the gum, and leave the phone in the car.
Dress the part: your clothes should reflect the place of work you are interviewing for. Again, this is where research is key. Dress appropriately.
Make a strong first impression:
Most interviewers know within the first minute if they are not going to hire you. Avoid this by making a strong first impression. Stand up straight, give a firm handshake, smile, and maintain eye contact. A weak handshake, inappropriate clothing, arriving late, or not coming prepared are all things that can alter the interviewer’s opinion of you. You could be sent to the “No” pile before the first question is even asked.
Remain calm and stay focused:
Don’t let nerves take over. Take a deep breath, remain calm and be yourself. Be attentive throughout the entire interview: take time before you answer each question to assure the quality of your answers. And don’t forget to ask questions at the end. This is where having a set of questions already made up will really come in handy.
When the interview is over, make your impression all over again. Be polite, and end with a firm handshake. Make them remember who you are!
The thank-you note is the last step in the interview process. Send a quick thank you e-mail within 24 hours of your interview. Next, find a professional thank you card, and send it personally to your interviewer. In this note, show your appreciation, briefly remind them of your strengths, and reiterate your enthusiasm for the job. After you have sent the note off, let them be. Give them the time and space they need to make the decision. If you have followed all of these steps, hopefully you will receive the call with good news!
Let us know of some successful interview experiences you have had!