You have applied and right now, you got your interview confirmation. Yes! You have been waiting for this moment from a long span of time! This is your time to show. The process has begun… but… wait for a moment! Don’t be excited now. It’s your time, it’s okay but clam down and think, are you really prepared to face an interview?
Think before you rush of to the interview. I think there are a few things, you need to prepare yourself, you need to do: before, during and after your interview. Here I am going to discuss from the beginning to the end.
Before the interview
Homework is the most important task before your interview. And the steps are:
Research the Company
Make sure that you research the company thoroughly before going to the interview. Find out all you can about the company’s history, financial status, accomplishments and business focus. This information should be available on the company’s web site. If for some reason they don’t have a web site, ask for a brochure or annual report. Ask business associates that currently work or previously worked there about the company culture, management style and working environment. It’s also helpful to take a look at the company’s president’s background.
Remember: Everything trickles down from the top! Is this the type of company you really want to work for? If you are 98% certain that you don’t want to work there, don’t waste your time and other’s time by showing up and taking a half hearted interviewing approach. You will not make a good impression and you might even burn a bridge in the process.
What do you need in order to succeed? What type of company environment best suits you? What type of boss do you work best for? Do you work best as part of a team or alone and behind the scenes? Do you thrive on chaos and tight deadlines or do you work best on long-term projects? Think back to positive and negative experiences in your own career history. Where were you the happiest and most productive and why? Life is too short not to be happy in your job! Once you analyze and understand your own past employment experiences, you can then identify what your needs are and apply that to your job search criteria. Remember, it’s a Two-Way Street!
Get a Job Description!
Try your best to get a job description that outlines the responsibilities and expectations required for the position. Find out why the position is open; did someone leave, is it a newly created position due to company growth, or was someone terminated and why? If this information isn’t available, don’t forget to ask in the interview.
Find out where the Company is Located!
The last thing you want to have happen is to take off for the interview only to discover it’s on the other side of the moon or thereabouts! You realize it’s an impossible commute and no matter how great the job is, you can’t manage the drive! PLEASE save yourself some time and frustration by finding the company location on a map. Drive there and see what the drive is like from your home. If you cannot handle it, don’t even think about it! If telecommuting is an option, then go for it!
Who is the Primary Interviewer!
Get the name correct (spelling and pronunciation) and title of the interviewer. Is this person the hiring manager? If the person conducting the initial interview isn’t the hiring manager, what is their position and why are they conducting the interview? Many times a human resource person will conduct the initial interview and then make recommendations to the hiring manager on whether to go forward with a candidate or not. There are the occasional group interviews that involve several employees, usually the manager plus a few team members. Try to get a list of the team member’s names so you can send thank you notes following your interview.
Prepare a List of Questions
Even though you may have a job description, ask the interviewer about what the job entails. You may be surprised to learn that the job description you have is not what the interviewer presents! Don’t let this throw you, switch gears and move on. Find out why the position is open. If someone was terminated, ask why. I hope that this will open up a dialogue regarding some of the pitfalls and how they can be avoided in the future. Be prepared to give your own personal examples of problems you’ve encountered and how you’ve solved them.
Appropriate Interview Attire
A good rule of thumb is to overdress rather than dress too casually. It’s a good idea to ask what the appropriate interviewing attire is before the interview, so you can plan accordingly. Good grooming cannot be emphasized enough. Make sure your hair is cut and styled, your nails are clean and manicured, and your teeth are clean and breath is fresh – No garlic before an interview – unless you want to scare off the werewolves! Make sure your shoes are shined and in good condition. If you have a significant other, please have them do a once over, checking for loose threads or other noticeable problems with your clothing and appearance.
Ladies Attire: Navy or Black conservative suit or pants suit, with matching blouse. Avoid wearing spike heels, overpowering perfume, loud nail polish and no low cut or revealing clothing! Keep it conservative and keep it simple.
Men’s Attire: Navy, Black Or Gray Pin Striped Suit With White Or Light Colored Button Down Shirt. Tie: Conservative, Solid, Nothing Too Loud or Outrageous! Shoes: Lace Up or Slip-On Black Or Brown. MAKE SURE THEY ARE POLISHED! If the company has a Business Casual dress code, dress accordingly.
During the Interview
This can be tricky! You are nervous, your hands are sweating, and your knuckles are popping. RELAX! Remember, it’s a 2 way street! Upon meeting the interviewer for the first time, offer a firm handshake and look them in the eye. A firm handshake and direct eye contact signal you have self-confidence and are sincerely interested in the opportunity.
Focus on listening to the questions carefully and attentively. Think before you speak, but don’t sit there forever with long silences in between dialogue. Do not ramble and lose focus. Stay on subject relating to questions asked by the interviewer. Speak clearly and intelligently! Maintain direct eye contact with the interviewer. Smile occasionally and above all, be enthusiastic!
Pay attention to the interviewer’s body language. Are they interested and attentive or are they asleep in their chair? Do they maintain eye contact with you or do they look down during the interview? Are they preoccupied and distracted, answering phone calls and leaving the room during the interview? Do they do all the talking? Do they give a positive or negative view of the company? Do they bash the competition? Do they ask intelligent questions? Do they respond favorably to your questions? Are they eager to share information with you? Do you want to work for this person? If you’re tuned into the interviewer’s style and approach, you can probably size up the situation and decide whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
After the Interview
Be sure you follow up with the interviewer, thanking them for their time, interest and consideration. It can be accomplished in a short hand written note or in an email, as this has recently become a more acceptable way of communicating. If a recruiter is representing you, please call them immediately following your interview. Your feedback is very important to your recruiter. Knowing your impressions of the company and interest level in the position is critical information that needs to be shared with the recruiter who is representing you.
To do’s and not to do’s in short
- Be positive, enthusiastic, smile and make good eye contact
- Give examples of your specific accomplishments
- Listen Intently and Respond Intelligently
- Stay focused and answer directly for any question
- Give examples of your accomplishments and problem solving skills
- Talk negatively about your current or past employers
- Get off subject or give rambling answers
- Take control of the interview
- Interrupt the interviewers when they are talking
- Keep looking at your watch!