In today’s difficult job market, it is essential to conduct an impressive interview in order to land the job. Even the smartest and most qualified job seeker needs to know how to prepare and execute a great interview. So how can you be sure to accomplish this daunting feat? Here are the essentials….
Study, Study, Study!
Many job seekers do not realize how much preparation is necessary in order to execute an impressive interview. It is essential that you prepare for an interview by studying -- study the company, study the people you will be interviewing with, study the job description, study the technical requirements, and even study your resume!
The easiest way to study the company and the hiring authorities is to spend a good amount of time researching every detail of their website, along with utilizing search engines such as Google. Know the product, the management team, the company history, the office locations, and any recent developments or events involving the company. Not only will this knowledge impress the interviewer, but this will also help you to formulate educated and thoughtful questions to bring into the interview.
While studying the job description, pay close attention to the technical skills required. It may be several months or even years since you’ve applied this knowledge. In that case, it would be wise to brush up on all of those required skills. If the position you are interviewing for is highly technical, you can bet there will be several questions asked in order to test your technical knowledge.
It is also very important to study your own resume. The last thing you want to happen during an interview is to forget what you included on your resume and what you did not! Study the dates of employment, study your skill set, study your duties and responsibilities, and study your accomplishments and achievements. This may seem silly, since after all, it is your life experience that you are recalling. However, many people do not realize how nervousness and anxiety cause candidates to forget even the most important facts and details.
Be prepared the night before.
Studying is only a small part of preparing for the interview. Preparing also involves writing educated questions to ask the interviewer, printing directions to the office, packing your briefcase or folder with extra pens and paper, making several copies of your resume to hand out during the interview, and planning your outfit. Trying to accomplish these tasks at the last minute is risky and will inevitably make for a stressful and even tragic interview.
Presentation is key.
It is so important that you look the part for an interview. A suit and tie for men and a pant or skirt suit for women is a must. Nothing flashy -- conservative, understated, and professional should be the goal. Even if you are told that the dress code is business casual, it essential that you wear a suit to an interview. No cologne or perfume -- just a shower will do.
Be on time… Better yet, be early!
The worst thing you can possibly do is be late to an interview. I suggest being about 10 to 15 minutes early. This allows you to take a few minutes to calm down from the stress of directions and traffic, and it also allows you to have a few minutes to review your prepared questions and your resume. Allowing an extra 15 minutes will also provide lenience in the case of unexpected traffic, detours, or (God forbid) you get lost!
Show energy, enthusiasm, and eagerness.
Whether you have an introverted or extroverted personality, it is important to show energy, enthusiasm and eagerness during an interview. I recommend drinking an espresso or Red Bull in order to be at the top of your game.
Shake hands and keep eye contact.
It is also important to have a firm hand shake. Shake hands with everyone in the room upon arrival and upon exiting at the end of the interview. No silent hand shakes -- be sure to greet the person while firmly shaking their hand.
Keep eye contact throughout the entire interview. If you are uncomfortable continuously looking into someone’s eyes, try to focus on the “third eye” in the middle of the forehead.
Sell your skills and experience.
The goal of an interview is to sell and resell your skills and experience by giving examples of how your knowledge and experience relate to the job in which you are interviewing. Always phrase sentences as “I know I can do this job…” instead of “I think I can do this job…” However, be sure to differentiate between “selling” and “rambling.” Stay on topic, be concise, and try to answer questions in less than 3 minutes.
Remember to CLOSE the interviewer.
As any great sales professional will tell you, the key to sales is closing. Remember to close the interviewer at the end of your interview! “Thank you so much, Jim. I know I will be a great asset to ABC Company. I want this job. What is the next step in this process?” Get contact information and a time frame of when the next step will be.
Your interview is not over yet!
It used to be the custom to send a formal thank you note via postal mail after an interview. However, in today’s business world there is no time to wait for the US Postal Service. Today a simple email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time and consideration will do. Take this opportunity to resell why you would be a good match for this position and reiterate how interested you are in the job.
Additional information for hiring authorities and candidates can be found at:
www.SkinnerandAssociates.com or by contacting Info@SkinnerandAssociates.com.