You’ve searched for job openings, you found a few businesses that you like, and you’ve filled out a few job applications. You may have also sent in a resume and cover letter. For all of your efforts, an employer has contacted you and would like for you to come in for an interview. This is where most people start sweating or at least get a little scared. However, I would like to offer a few tips to make your interview successful!
Successful interview tips Step 1 – Preparation
First of all, preparation makes all the difference in the world. Going into an interview unprepared is like getting in a row boat with no oars. So taking a little time to prepare yourself will boost your confidence and make you stand out as a more valuable candidate to the employer.
a. Learn about the product.
b. Find out a little about their history.
c. Research their plans for the future. Are they opening an office in Hawaii? Maybe you’d like to work there!
d. What is the normal salary for this position?
2. Know the exact time and place for the interview.
a. How long will it take you to get there?
b. Do a drive-by sometime before if you can (leave the machine gun at home!).
3. With whom are you interviewing?
a. Get the full name.
b. Is this person the owner? The manager?
4. Prepare a few questions
a. Why is there an opening?
b. Future growth plans
c. Do they provide training?
d. Room to move upwards? Is there room for advancement?
e. Think of questions that weren’t answered through your research.
5. Be prepared for common interview questions (do some research on these!)
a. It is common to also ask what you feel your weak points are.
6. Re-examine this successful interview tips guide before each interview until you know intuitively what to do.
Successful interview tips Step 2 – The Interview
Ok, so you’ve done all your preparation, and now you’re ready to march in there! Still feeling a little anxious? Here are a few more tips for you to make this interview successful:
1. Dress professionally
2. BE ON TIME!
a. Arrive about 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
b. If you don’t show up without calling first, you’re done.
3. Greet the interviewer by their surname
4. Handshake should be firm without crushing hands (no dead fish!)
5. Maintain regular eye contact
6. Listen closely before responding (too many people just wait for their turn to speak)
7. Jot down a few notes
8. Ask questions
9. Be candid
10. Watch your non-verbal communication, smile! Show some personality! Employers usually do not want someone who is lame or has no personality. Most employers want to know “Can I work with this person for the next few years?” I’ve even seen some interviews take place in a coffee shop, or during a lunch break.
If you find yourself getting edgy, use relaxation techniques such as visualization, calming breath (not too obvious though), and try to remember that the person sitting across from you is just another human being. They may have a great opportunity for you, but they are human!
Successful interview tips Step 3 – Close and Follow Up
Closing the interview. You will know when the interview is about over. Before you leave, you should take into consideration a few things.
1. It’s typically not good to fixate on money during the interview. Everyone knows you’re there to make a living, but it’s advisable not to bring it up unless the interviewer has not made any reference to it at all. If you are going to inquire about salary, or if the employer asks you how much you’re looking to make, here are a few ways to ask:
a. How much is the job currently paying?
b. What was the previous person in this position making?
c. What is the salary range for this position? (if you’re experienced at this position, go for the larger end of that range or above!)
2. What’s the next step in the hiring process? Ask! You don’t want to leave there wondering if and when they’re going to be calling you.
3. Thank them for the opportunity with a firm handshake and look them in the eyes.
4. Follow up with an email or phone call. In the old days, we used to send a thank you note in the mail! You can still use this method, but you will have to “read” each person individually to see which method will go over best. Is it a spa? Then the may appreciate a hand-written note or “thank you” card. Is it a call center? Then maybe it’s best to just send an email and follow up with a phone call. The phone call is very important! Don’t just send an email and believe that they received it. Emails are lost very easily.
I hope that these tips will help to make your interview more successful. However, if you felt that the interview did not go well, it’s still a good idea to follow up with the employer. You never know if the interviewer was just having an off day, or if your perceptiveness was just off- maybe they actually really liked you!
Don’t stop! Even if things look very good with this employer, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Give yourself selections. Interview with as many employers as you feel fit with your ambitions. Isn’t it better to have a few options than to just leap into one job because you feel you have no other choice?
Give yourself credit. You are working on a better life for yourself. Keep moving forward! “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”