You can never be too prepared for an interview. Here are some job interview tips you can use to ensure you make the best possible impression and get the job you want.
1. Do Your Research
The more you prepare for an interview the easier it will be. Take advantage of the Internet and your network of friends, family or contacts. Consider the work environment, training programs, growth/opportunities, philosophy for promotions, marketing strategies, as well as the company’s values when conducting your research.
Most importantly, be sure you understand the job description for the position. This can give you specific insight into what to expect and how to prepare for the interview.
2. Know Yourself
Not only is it important to grasp the ins and outs of the prospective company, you must also have a handle on your work experience and education. Think in advance about your long-term goals and how your skills match a potential position. And be sure to review your resume and qualifications before the interview – you never know what questions will be asked.
3. Make a Great First Impression
As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression, and a neat and organized appearance can go a long way in an interview. Making sure your clothing is clean and pressed is half the battle. It’s also smart to keep your look conservative.
Even if you’re not sure it’s necessary, wear a suit to make a professional statement. You’ll be much more comfortable “overdressing” than if you arrive too casual.
4. Be Prepared
This is one of the most important job interview tips, but shouldn’t come as a surprise. Show up early for your interview, and bring several copies of your resume.
5. Be Professional
Don’t chew gum. Turn your phone OFF, and if you forget, do not answer it if a call comes through. Don’t watch the clock or your watch. At the end of the day, this is just about showing respect.
6. Project Positivity and Confidence through Body Language
Remember to smile and offer a firm handshake. Pay close attention to your nonverbal communication like posture, mannerisms and eye contact. Listen to all questions, and formulate your answers using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
7. Turn Negatives into Positives
Employers are going to search for your strengths but also want to know your weaknesses. They will ask difficult questions such as, “Describe a time when your team failed to meet a specific goal?” Avoid making negative statements and instead describe how the experience was turned into a positive.
8. Use the STAR Approach During Behavioral Interviewing
Behavioral Interviewing is a systematic approach to generating responses to rate job-related skills. The theory behind behavioral interviewing is that past or present behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. How does it work?
Behavioral Interviewing is effective in measuring many competencies – including work ethic and flexibility. Here are two questions that may be asked to measure those:
“Describe a time where you had to sacrifice doing something you wanted to do in order to accomplish a goal or complete a task.”
“Tell me about a specific time when you had your day scheduled and there was an unexpected change. How did you handle it?”
When posed with behavioral questions like these, use the STAR approach to provide complete answers.
SITUATION: state the specific past situation that you are recalling
TASK: state the task that you had to accomplish
ACTION: what specifically you did to accomplish the task
RESULT: what was the result of your action
As you can see, this is where that preparation described earlier can really pay off. If you’ve researched the position and know the skills and competencies a recruiter is looking for, you’ll be able to prepare some strong examples from your past experiences.
9. Ask Questions
All employers will give you the opportunity to ask questions at the end of, and sometimes during, your interview. Make sure you are prepared with questions about the company and the position – and it’s ok to write them down. Your goal should be to have a good handle on what the job entails, expectations the company has and the work environment before you walk out the door.
10. Show enthusiasm about the company and the opportunity
You can say specifically that you’re interested in the position, and also ask about the next step in the hiring process to show you want to keep the process moving forward.
Interview Follow Up
11. Follow-Up After the Interview
Send “Thank-you” cards or letters to your interviewer (even via email will work). Thank them for their time, and express your interest in the position. If you have been told by the interviewer that you should hear back from them by a certain date, and have not, don’t be afraid to follow up; however, be polite, express your interest, but don’t be pushy.
The bottom line is to be prepared – from your appearance to your interview experience – so follow these tips for a successful job interview, and good luck!
Dylan Schweitzer is the Group Talent Acquisition Manager in New York for Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of Enterprise, Alamo and National Rent-A-Car. Dylan has conducted over 6000 interviews and trains senior leadership at Enterprise on conducting interviews.
Featured photo by Victor1558