So much of the job search advice and preparation is to help the candidate get to the point of being invited to interview. Networking to make connections and learn the company, developing a flawless professional resume, preparing compelling customized cover letters and utilizing your networking connections to get your resume in the hands of the hiring manager. If all those things work and you are invited to interview, that’s great news but now the hard work begins.
Preparing for Interviews
- Research the company, review their website, look at recent press coverage, review your networking notes to see what you have learned about the company.
- Prepare questions in advance that you can ask your interviewers.
- Review the job description carefully and think about how you will discuss your qualifications. What have you done that demonstrates your ability to perform this job and do it well?
- Anticipate the questions they are likely to ask and think about your responses. Don’t memorize your answers but know what key points you want to cover.
- Prepare your examples to behavioral questions. Identify the likely skills they will ask about and identify your examples. Think about how you can explain the situation what action you took and don’t forget to emphasize the results you achieved. Know what examples you will want to share. The job description will provide insight into which skills they consider most critical.
- Be sure you know how to get there in advance. Take a test run if necessary. Allow time for traffic and parking.
Cardinal Sins when Interviewing
- Arriving late. Always know where you are going, allow plenty of time to get there and to park. Always arrive a few minutes early. Do not arrive too early – ideally not more than 10 – 15 minutes early is appropriate.
- Wimpy or tentative handshake. Demonstrate your confidence with a professional handshake. Don’t be a bone crusher either.
- Lack of eye contact. If you can’t look at the interviewer while you are answering they suspect you have something to hide and they perceive that you lack confidence.
- Acting like you are not interested or even wishing you were somewhere else. Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the position. Employers often report back that the candidate seemed well qualified but lacked a passion for the opportunity. They hope to hire someone who wants to be part of the team.
Send a Thank You Note
If you want to be remembered after an interview, be sure to send a handwritten thank you note. Remind them why you are so excited about the opportunity, thank them for their time, and reference something you discussed. Employers remember who sent handwritten thank you notes. It makes a very positive impression.