After hours of crafting your resume, searching job postings and contacting employers, you’ve landed an interview. Your skills, background and education may have gotten you in the door, but you may have just a short face-to-face meeting to make the lasting impression that will get you hired. Here are some tips to job interview success.
- Know the company. Study the website, read relevant news clips, talk with current or former employees you already know. You should be informed about the position you’re interviewing for, but you also need to know if the company is right for you.
- Know yourself. Look at the skills the position requires. Then, reviewing your work experience, pick out on-the-job stories that illustrate each of those tasks. If, for example, the job requires “strong leadership skills,” think of a time you successfully rallied your team to complete a task. When it comes to interviews, showing your skills makes a much better impression than simply parroting the job description.
- Know what might be asked. If this is not your first interview, you probably have some idea of the questions that may be asked. If it is, talk with a professional in your field to find out what may come up during the conversation. Prepare answers to the possible questions, but don’t memorize them word-for-word. Write an outline of your answers that you can refer to beforehand. That way your answers will sound natural, not canned, and you can adapt if the interviewer asks something related but not exactly what you anticipated.
- Ask questions. Don’t leave all the questioning to the interviewer. You’re bound to have questions about the organization you may be working for, so ask them. You’ll show you’ve done your homework and are serious about the position, and you’ll have a better idea of what working there will be like.
Remember: An interview is as much for you as it is for the potential employer. You need to find out whether you’d accept (and be happy in) the job, so do as much homework as you can before the first handshake.