Interviewing can be intimidating and nerve-racking. Before an interview it is important to take some time for yourself, get your thoughts together and go into the interview with confidence as companion. Here are a few tips that will help you nail it!
How can I prepare?
- Do your research! It is vital that you research the company prior to going into the interview. It is best to know what you are up against, a little background on your interviewer and anything you can congratulate the company on (recent accomplishments, awards, etc.) are a great way to show your interest in being a part of the organization.
- What you need to bring. You need to have at least 3 copies of your résumé including cover sheet and references available at the interview. You never know how many hiring managers will be there and you want to be sure to prepare yourself in case they do not have a current résumé in front of them. You should also bring official transcripts and letters of recommendation just in case.
- Appearance. Make sure you are well-groomed (nails manicured, dress appropriately, no smoking or chewing gum). Ladies should wear below knee-length skirts, blouses should not be low-cut, and men should always wear appropriate business attire. No jeans please!
- Arrival. Arrive no less than 15 minutes early. You don’t want to seem too eager by coming too early; however, you want to have enough time to fill out any on-site job applications prior to your appointment.
During the Interview
- Prepare yourself to respond to difficult questions. If the employer asks you questions such as “Why are you interested in working for our company?” or “Why do you think you are qualified for this position?” you must prepare yourself to respond immediately with positive reasons why you will be an asset to the company. Try to practice with a relative or friend.
- Limit unnecessary distractions. Turn off your cell phone! You don’t want to distract the employer with the latest hit single. Be sure to remove any flashy jewelry or noisy accessories. These items can distract the interviewer from hearing your strategically planned responses.
- Stay positive. Be sure to positively respond about any prior experiences and/or professional relationships with previous employers, co-workers and customers. Questions like “Why did you leave your previous job? or “Describe a time where you had a conflict with an employee or supervisor, how did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?” are opportunities for you to bring out the good in you. Remember, this is all about you – your brand, your image, your paycheck.
- Body Language. Avoid slouching and leaning. Body language is crucial during the interview. You never want to seem lackadaisical or bored. Sit up straight and look the interviewer directly in the eyes when responding. Respond to questions with a pleasant voice and facial expression.
- Questions. Always have at least two questions for the interviewer. Never bring up compensation and benefits. Doing so may imply you are only interested in the financial rewards.
After the Interview
- Contact Information. Be sure to get a business card(s) from the interviewer(s). Remind them of when/how they can reach you and ask for a point of contact to follow-up with. Don’t be shy; now is the time for you to shine, show your confidence and show you are serious about your career. Pride is an unnecessary distraction that prevents you from moving forward.
- Follow-Up. Always send a thank you email or hand write a note and send to the interviewer(s). This reminds them of who you are and gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants.
These tips are a sure way to help you score big on your next interview.
See you at the top!
Mary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids.