Before the Interview
- Research the company and the industry.
- Print out or write down directions and the name and phone number of your contact.
- If the area is unfamiliar, take a trial run to the company so you know how to get there and where to park.
- Know how to pronounce the name of each interviewer.
- Practice shaking hands – not too hard, not too limp.
- If you get nervous sweaty palms, try rubbing some baby powder or antiperspirant on your hands before an interview (however, only use a little).
- List requirements the employer is seeking.
- For each, write down your experience/skills/qualities that match or relate.
- For the requirements that seem the most important, use your skills, experience and qualities to develop examples of success doing the tasks they are seeking or of how you would be able to do those tasks successfully.
- Review common interview and behavioral questions. Prepare sample answers.
- If you are unfamiliar with common questions or if you are new to the interview scene, ask your recruiter.
- Prepare your 30-second commercial (sales pitch of why they should hire you).
- Prepare a list of 5-7 questions to ask the interviewers.
- Type your questions, leaving space for you to write each answer (you may choose to write brief answers during the interview or complete them after the interview).
- Get permission from your references to use their names. Let them know that you are going for an interview and that they may get a call. Send them a new copy of your resume.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
The Day of the Interview
- Check your clothing, teeth, hair in the mirror before you leave.
- See the Dress for Success Checklist
- Extra copies of your resume (on resume paper) and your reference sheet.
- Your questions to ask and information about the company that you may want to read while waiting.
- A portfolio and a pen.
- Directions and name and phone number of contact (in case you are in traffic or get lost).
- Change/cash in case of meter/parking garage.
- A comb or brush.
- An umbrella if the weather warrants it.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get there and arrive 15 minutes early.
- Empty pockets of change and bulky wallets.
When You Arrive at the Company
- If possible, use the restroom – at least to check your clothing for stains, teeth for food or lipstick, and hair for wind damage.
- Discard chewing gum.
- Do you need a breath mint?
- Turn cell phone off, or better yet, leave it in the car.
- Check in with receptionist.
- Observe the environment/culture of the company.
- Take any literature that is available.
- If you are nervous, try this technique:
- Quietly take a deep breath, hold it for about five seconds, and quietly and slowly exhale. Repeat 3 times.
- Try silently telling yourself, “I am the best candidate for this position.”
During the Interview
- Break the ice:
- Small talk plays an important role in the interview by helping to break the ice and put both parties at ease. Just be sure not to keep talking too long.
- Focus on the little things:
- Give a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and practice good posture. Your nonverbal cues can say a lot about your personality and interest in the position.
- Crossing your arms, nodding hurriedly or making tense facial expressions can all send the wrong message.
- Looking up at the ceiling while formulating an answer to the interviewer’s question gives off a signal of someone that is about to lie. Keep Looking in their eyes.
- Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance.
- Always act professionally and maintain a good attitude!
- Remain positive: No matter how well you prepare for an interview, things may not always go as smoothly as you had hoped.
- Whether you become tongue-tied or are thrown curveball questions, roll with the punches.
- Keeping a positive attitude and remaining confident in your ability to land the job is one sure way to impress any hiring manager.
- Do Not Discuss Salary!
- Money issues are emotional tipping points for both you and the interviewer.
- The fact that your recruiter has set you up for this interview underscores the fact that the position’s salary is in your pre-discussed range.
At the Conclusion of the Interview
- Ask the interviewer if there are any aspects of the job that you have not inquired about.
- If you truly are, tell the interviewer that you are interested in the position.