Before the Interview
. . . research the company and the position
The more you know about the organization and the job for which you are applying, the more prepared you will appear (and feel) during the interview. The recruiter will be impressed by your interest and motivation. You will be able to confidently explain how you can contribute to the organization.
Find out as much key information as you can about the organization, its products, services, and customers. LinkedIn is a great tool for company research. If possible, talk to current employees of the company.
. . . prepare for the actual interview
Review the job description if possible and review your experiences on your resume. Be prepared to answer questions about anything on your resume.
Prepare a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer.
- Can you describe the company culture?
- What type of orientation or training do new employees receive?
- What are some of the department’s ongoing and anticipated special projects?
- Why did you come to work for the company?
- What is the next step of your search process?
Don't forget to bring a professional folder and extra copies of your resume.
. . . practice!
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years?
- Why should I hire you?
- What can you contribute to the company?
- What salary do you expect to receive?
- Do you have any questions for me?
. . . dress for success
Regardless of the work environment, dress conservatively. In nearly all cases, a suit is an appropriate choice. If you’re not sure what to wear, it’s always better to over-dress than under-dress. Don’t use too much perfume, jewelry or makeup, and don’t smoke or drink alcohol before the interview.
During the Interview
Arrive 10 minutes early to familiarize yourself with the company environment. Be confident, alert, and enthusiastic. Show self-confidence by making eye contact with the interviewer and answering questions in a clear voice. If you would like to take notes, make sure to ask the interviewer first.
Work to establish a rapport with the interviewer. Listen closely for cues on how you should act. Is he/she being formal or informal? How loudly is he/she speaking? What sort of information is he/she trying to solicit: general, professional, or personal? Try to speak with the same rhythm and tone of voice.
Find out as much as possible from the interviewer. Establish what he/she is looking for then integrate this information into your responses. Be specific, concrete, and detailed in your answers. The more accurate information you provide, the better the employer is able to get to know you. If you are asked a difficult question, take a few moments to think and compose an answer. Always answer honestly. Know what questions potential employers are prohibited by law from asking you.
Remember to listen. If you are talking too much or not paying attention when the interviewer is speaking, you may miss cues concerning what the employer feels is important. Avoid criticizing past employers even when you feel that the criticism is deserved. Be positive!
Most importantly, answer the question! Some candidates get distracted as they tell their stories; if you are unsure, ask the recruiter, "Does this answer your question?"
At the conclusion of your interview, ask when a hiring decision will be made, and thank the interviewer for his or her time, restating your interest in the position.
After the Interview
Write or type a thank-you letter to the interviewer(s) indicating your interest in the position and thanking him/her for his/her time. This should be mailed within 24 hours of your interview. Send a thank you letter even if you aren’t interested. This professionalism will set you apart from most other job seekers.