Landing an interview with a prospective employer is a significant accomplishment.
This is your opportunity to make a personal connection with the employer and show why you’d be perfect for the job.
Interview preparation is essential. Interviewers want to see that you are able to present yourself, that you are articulate and comfortable and that you are able to handle difficult questions and situations. They also want to see what kind of colleague you will be.
- Make sure voicemail messages and social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are professional.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses with a self-evaluation. Prepare to state three significant strengths you want the employer to know about you.
- Bring several copies of your resume on
resume-quality paper. Familiarize yourself with the contents of your resume.
- Research the organization and familiarize yourself with the position description before interviewing.
- Prepare to describe how your skills, experiences, qualities and accomplishments will complement the overall mission of the organization.
- Practice responses to behavior-based interview questions using the star format (Situation, Task, Action and Results).
- Prepare interview questions to ask the employer so you can be an active participant in your interview.
- Carry a notebook with you. If you have a portfolio, be sure it is minimal, manageable and contains only your very best examples.
- Dress carefully. Clothes should be professional and conservative.
- Know the location of the employer and how long it takes to travel to your destination.
- Be respectful and professional to everyone you meet in the organization. Anyone you come into contact with may influence hiring decisions.
- Develop a firm handshake.
- Be on time, be friendly, be positive, be a good listener, be enthusiastic, be confident, be polite, be professional and most importantly, be yourself.
- Follow-up your interview by mailing or e-mailing a thank-you letter the day of the interview or the following day.
- Keep careful records of interview details.
- Be aware that some employers do background checks including credit, criminal and driving records. Some employers also require drug screens and/or physical examinations.
Professional Dress Tips
First impressions count and, yes, hiring managers and recruiters do judge a book by its cover. The clothes you wear can make a powerful first impression. Plan in advance how you will dress for the interview. Dressing your best shows respect and professionalism. Dress appropriately for the position. If you do not know the expected dress code, dress more conservatively. Your clothes should not detract from your overall presentation. They should be subtle and professional. Remember, you have only one chance to make a strong first impression.