Employers are continually amazed at the lack of an applicant's preparation regarding the company and the position for which they are interviewing. Remember that a successful interview begins with preparation and practice. Gain the competitive edge in the first interview, so that you can increase the probability of getting the job that you want!
Always be prepared for an interview, regardless of the level of position you are interviewing. Candidates who interview without researching the company put themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage. Learning about a company is very easy due to the internet. Knowledge of the company conveys interest and enthusiasm to potential employers.
Be Professional, Confident and Look Your Best
It is important to plan the image you wish to present to your employer. The first impression is a lasting impression. Dress in a professional, conservative manner. Interviewers should err on the side of formality. Jeans and sneakers are not recommended for almost all job interviews unless you are instructed by your search consultant. Interviewers want to know that a candidate takes the interview and the job seriously. Ask your recruiter what the company's dress code is for the interview, just to be sure.
It is never appropriate to be late. Plan to arrive 5-10 minutes early for the interview. Remember to turn off cell phones, pagers, etc. If presented with an application, fill it out completely and neatly - never indicate "see resume". When greeted by the interviewer, use a good firm handshake. A firm grip, with a brief yet brisk handshake while looking directly at the interviewer provides a powerful, lasting impression.
Watch Your Body Language
Maintain good posture. Leaning slightly forward when seated, indicates interest; and maintain eye contact. What you look like and how you say something are just as important as what you say. Studies have shown that 65% of the conveyed message is nonverbal: gestures, physical appearance and attire are highly influential during job interviews.
It is your responsibility to establish an immediate level of rapport so that you may communicate comfortably. Your goal is to get the interviewer to identify with you. Remember, people like people who are like themselves.
During the Interview
Let the interviewer take the lead on the questions. They should doing more that half of the talking in the interview. Keep your answers brief and concise, and make sure you answer their question. Unless asked to give more detail, limit your answers to two to three minutes per question. Try to maintain a conversational flow - a dialogue instead of a monologue. Respond to each question thoughtfully, truthfully, concisely and completely. Try to include accomplishments in your answers when possible.
The types of questions you ask and the way you ask them can make a tremendous impression on the interviewer. Good questions require advance preparation. Just as you plan how you would answer an interviewer's questions, write out specific questions you want to ask. Then look for an opportunity to ask them during the interview.
- DO NOT inquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement or any other benefit. Your recruiter will supply this information to you.
- When the employer initiates the subject of salary (Do not tell a potential employer the exact figure you are looking for), indicate your interest will be based upon the company itself, your associates, the position and the opportunity. If pressed for a specific number, try to use a salary range that you are seeking.
Ending the Interview
The employer has a scheduled amount of time set for an interview. When he/she moves to close the interview there are two questions uppermost in the interviewers mind:
- Why are you interested in his/her company?
- What can you offer that company?
Make sure the employer realizes that your interest is based on a positive opportunity that they have and not a reaction to a negative situation in which you may be currently involved with (layoff, plant closing, etc.). Repeat your key strengths again. It is essential that you confidently articulate your strengths and explain how they relate to the company's or department's goals.
** Respectfully thank the interviewer for his/her time; let him/her know you have enjoyed learning more about the company and position; and finally, that you will look forward to hearing from the interviewer regarding the next step in the interview process. Always leave a positive impression even if you don't want this particular position.
- If you are interested in the position, you MUST make a definitive, qualified statement that says: I can do the job and here is why I can do the job. Say something like: "We appear to have a match here." or "This looks like the kind of opportunity I have been seeking." Avoid making general statements that do not commit your feelings such as: “It looks very interesting” or “I think I can do it.”
- Confirm with the employer that you have answered his/her questions to their satisfaction. Ask the employer what the next step is and when you can expect to hear from them.
- Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration.
After the Interview
Immediately after the interview, contact your Search Consultant to discuss the interview and strategy. He/she is invaluable in assisting you in gaining that offer of employment and the sooner the recruiter hears back from you, the sooner he/she can follow up with the Hiring Manager. Be sure to send a Thank-You follow up letter to each individual that you interviewed with. When an interview is ending, ask for a business card so you have the email address and correct spelling of the interviewer’s name.