Job Interview Tips – Before, During and After
- Prior to your interview practice with a friend or parent – this will help prepare you.
- Dress appropriately, is the dress environment formal or casual? Know in advance.
- Arrive early – give yourself plenty of time to collect your thoughts and relax.
- Do not drink coffee prior to, or chew gum during, the interview.
- Walk into the interview feeling confident and start with a firm handshake.
- Have any extra copy of your resume and questions ready.
- Be serious and professional, this is not the time or place to be humorous.
- Know the company, number of employees, years in business, etc. and the competition – do research on the Internet.
- Ask questions openly; creative and strategic questions can help you decide if this is the right job for you.
- Show some enthusiasm.
- Do not criticize former employers, colleagues, or co-workers. Keep negative thoughts or comments out of the interview.
- Be you, answer honestly and concisely and remain focused.
- Thank the interviewer for his time and for the interview. Get a business card for follow-up calls or thank you letters / emails.
- After the interview, preferably the same day, send a thank-you email. You may want to follow-up a week later with a telephone call.
- Remember – there are plenty of jobs out there – if this one does not work out, use the interview as a learning experience and preparation for the next interview.
You have submitted your resume with a professionally written eye-catching cover letter. You make the cut and are called in for an interview, one of the most stressful moments of your life. Expect to be dissected, quizzed, questioned, and finally judged. The purpose is to determine your true capabilities, whether you are honest in your response and whether you will be the right fit for the company.
Demonstrate your confidence; from the moment you walk through the door and shake hands to the moment you leave the room. Do not demonstrate fear, and avoid the jitters (it will show through in the interview).
Remember, you are there either because it’s your dream job; you hear the pay is excellent; or maybe you are simply testing the job market. Whatever the reason, take the interview serious. Take the experience as a learning experience (in the event you do not land the job). Use the experience to better your interviewing skills for the next interview.
The interview begins.
The questions come at you like a barrage of paint balls. Because you have done your homework, you know the company. They have received your resume and know all about your working experience – you too should know something about the company. Use the Internet. How long it been in business; what are the most popular products or services; who are their competitors; even the work culture / environment is available on the net. Doing your homework will help you understand the company, the questions being asked of you, and will help you ask questions of the company in return. You will appear knowledgeable. So be thorough, be inquisitive and be prepared.
Remember this could be your next job, your future, and your well-being. Take some time to think about creative and strategic questions that will get potential employers to express things that will help you decide if this company is really a good match for you. Know the company’s priorities, goals, partnerships, management strategies, challenges and financial direction / status of the company.
Things to remember are:
- Be prepared.
- Do your homework – know the company (research the company on the internet).
- Know something about the competition.
- Practice with a friend or relative (mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, dog, etc.).
- Keep in mind the general standard questi
- ns that are always asked at interviews, like:
- Tell us something about yourself?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What do you have to offer the company?
- What makes you different?
- What are your qualities?
- What are your bad qualities?
- What are your strength / weaknesses?
- Tell us about your co-workers / managers in your current / previous job?
Practice answering questions like these with a friend, in front of the mirror, with your dog. You don’t have to memorize your answers (because really, who knows what they’ll ask you), but if you take a minute or two to practice coming up with answers to such thorny questions, you can bolster your confidence and get yourself thinking like an interviewee.
Give yourself extra time to get where you’re going. Arrive 15 minutes early so you have a chance to collect your thoughts and catch your breath beforehand (know the area – maybe go the day before to avoid a late arrival.
Be yourself and feel comfortable.
Dress for the job. What do people wear around the office? Find out beforehand and come to your interview dressed one level nicer than you’d dress everyday on the job. Do not wear Jeans/Denim.
Don’t drink coffee before an interview. Jitters are distracting, and having to pee during an interview doesn’t exactly improve your concentration.
Bring extra copies of your résumé just in case. Again be prepared. Similarly, have references ready on demand.
Get psyched. Enthusiasm is important and will make the interview easier on everyone.
Be professional, there’s no room in an interview for being flaky. Leave the gum at home.
Be positive, be honest and be concise in your answers. Do not ramble-on with a monologue about your problems or issues you may have (keep negative comments out of the interview). Focus on your strengths and how you’ve effectively managed challenges and be balanced. Remember: An interview is definitely an occasion to strut your stuff (but don’t go too overboard).
Do not criticize former employers, colleagues, or co-workers. It only makes you look bad; really bad! And it will make a potential employer start to wonder what you’ll say about them.
Send an email the same day as the interview thanking them for the interview/meeting. Wait a week or so before following up with another email or a phone call to check your status.
Finally, there’s one more thing you should always keep in mind: No job is perfect. There’s a downside to everything. Don’t fixate on one gig as the answer to all your hopes and dreams. If this one doesn’t work out, there will be others. Don’t get discouraged. At the very worst, you’ll get some practice presenting and promoting yourself. On the other hand, at the very best, you just might end up with a job you like.
- Practice interviewing.
- Go alone. Do not take children or friends (if you get driven to the interview – have your driver wait outside).
- Smile, be polite, and try to relax.
- Make frequent eye contact.
- Listen carefully to the questions asked. Ask the interviewer to restate a question if you are confused.
- Answer questions as directly as possible.
- Be upbeat and make positive statements.
- If you’ve worked before, talk about what you learned from it.
- Use examples of how your skills and abilities would fit the job.
- Bring a sheet with information on your references and former employers, just in case you are asked to provide them.
Most Common Questions to Expect in an Interview; be prepared!
It is important as you prepare for your interview to anticipate what questions the employer might ask. The following questions are examples of the types of questions that you may be asked to answer.
- Tell me (us) about yourself.
This is one of the most common questions asked in an interview. Make your response brief and job related. Inform them that you would love to tell them about yourself – ask them to be more specific “what would you like to know? This would be a polite appropriate response.
- What do you know about our company and the work we do?
Assuming you have done your homework in advance about the company, this is the moment to shine through. Look excited, become emotional, flattery may land you the job.
- What would you consider your weakness(es) to be?
However clever way you wish to answer – keep your response positive. Turn a negative into a positive.
- What would you consider your strengths to be?
Explain that your experiences, qualifications, and skills are your strengths. Your skills will add value to the company.
- Why did you leave your last job?
Avoid all negative comments, or derogatory statements against co-workers; avoid words such as “fired”, “terminated”, and “quit”; or avoid negative personal family matters as a reason for leaving a job (children: no baby sitter, parents: are separating, family / co-workers: we don’t get along, etc.).
You can always say you are making a career change, took time off to study, relocated, etc.). Whatever your response, keep it positive.
- Why have you been unemployed for such a long time?
If this is a true statement, say that you are looking for the right company where you can make a contribution; a company where you can plant your roots and grow.
- Why should we hire you?
Here your answer should be that you have the experience, qualifications and skills to contribute to the company. Be positive. Explain that you would like the opportunity to demonstrate that you can do the work; if they hire you, you can demonstrate that.
- Do you have references?
Be prepared to provide references at the interview should this question come up (your references should be notified in advance that they may be called). The answer here is emphatic “yes” and that you would love to provide them.
Following the Interview
Following the interview, the employer will give you the opportunity to ask questions. Following are examples of acceptable questions to ask.
- Who will supervise me?
- When are you going to make a hiring decision?
- What are the opportunities for advancement?
- What kind of training is provided or available?
- Is there a dress code?
At the end of the interview:
- Thank the interviewers for their time.
- Request a business card.
- Shake hands in closing.
- Two or three days after the interview send a thank you note addressed to the interviewers.
After the Interview
After your interview, be sure to write a thank you note to the employer or interviewer. This is very important because a thank you note gives you one more chance to remind the employer about the special skills that you can bring to the company.
It is a good idea to request the interviewer’s business card before leaving the interview. This will help when writing your thank you note to correctly spell the interviewer’s name and job title.
Tips for thank you notes:
- Always type the note.
- Address the note to the interviewer or the lead interviewer.
- Keep it short.
- First paragraph: Thank the employer for the interview. Also, mention or remind them that you are interested in the position.
- Second paragraph: Briefly state a few of your skills without repeating the information on your resume word for word. Include any important information not mentioned at the interview.
- Third paragraph: Provide your contact information, telephone number with area code, and an e-mail address, if available.
- Sign the note with your first and last name.
- Proofread the note to check for spelling or grammar errors. Ask another person to proofread the note.
- Mail the note within two to three days after your interview.
Reasons Why You Will Not Get Hired:
- Untidy personal appearance
- Inability to express information clearly
- Lack of genuine interest or enthusiasm
- Unwillingness to start at the bottom
- Negative attitude
- Lack of eye contact
- Incomplete or sloppy application
- Being late for the interview