Finding a job is tough. You spend so much time tweaking your resume and cover letter so they stand out among the many other hopefuls you’re up against and you might have to apply to dozens of places before an application is noticed, and liked, by a potential employer.
After getting over the excitement of a call back, it’s time to prepare for the interview. You need to make sure you stand out more than your resume does.
Before the Interview:
- Research, Research, Research: Look over the company’s website, blog, stocks, recent work, new clients and products and anything else that might be relevant.
- Pick a Professional Outfit:It doesn’t matter if the office itself is business casual or even casual. You’ll want to dress to impress in business professional attire with extra attention to detail.
- Print Out Copies of Your Resume and Cover Letter: In case your interviewer forgets to bring a copy, you’ll save them the time of going back to get it and you’ll look prepared.
- Schedule It For the Right Time: You’ll want to pick a time that your interviewer will be most focused on you. Don’t schedule an interview on Monday or Friday, because they may be catching up or winding down. The same goes for the beginning or ending of the day or right before or after lunch. Aim for midmorning or midafternoon.
- Come Up With An Answer to “Tell Me About Yourself”: You’ll want to avoid regurgitating your cover letter. Make it a little more personal by adding a why to the what, but remember to keep it short and sweet. Weave in little details about your influences and goals.
- Prepare for Questioning: The most common questions are often about your strengths, weakness, failures, goals, managerial ability, ability to work under pressure or handle multiple things at once and disagreements with upper management or coworkers. The interviewer will often want to know why you want to work at their company, why they should hire you and why you left your last job. Depending on the position, you might also be asked specific questions about the company.
During the Interview:
- Make a Good First Impression: Be polite to everyone, because you don’t want anyone thinking you aren’t the one. You should also be professional in your demeanor and language.
- Be Confident, Not Cocky or Desperate: You don’t want to look too nervous, but you don’t want to seem cocky, because no one likes arrogance, even if you’re super qualified. Also, if you really need the job to make your next rent payment, don’t show it. You want to show them that you want the job because of what the job is, not because you’re behind on your student loan payments.
- Pay Attention: There’s likely to be a lot of information thrown at you about the company, the position and the duties. This is a great information to ask questions about later on.
- Don’t Talk Too Much: Be concise, but descriptive. Try to avoid making statements about your abilities without examples to back them up. Definitely don’t ramble too much, because you might end up saying more than you wanted. Remember to also be honest, even if it means saying you don’t have a skill.
- Ask Good Questions: Asking your own questions is so important. It shows your interviewer that you are interested in the position and company. This is also a great way to show off some of the research you did before the interview.
After the Interview:
- Send a Thank You Note: The email should be personalized and include specific information about the interview and interviewer. This shows you valued the interview enough to remember what they said and to take the time to thank the interviewer.
- Follow Up: A phone call or email following up shows your continued interest in the position, as well as your follow-through abilities. However, don’t stalk your interviewer because they’ll be less likely to hire you. After you’ve contacted them a couple of times, it’s best to move on.