How to Ace that Interview? Unemployment is high nationally (9.1%) and even higher in California (12%). Either, you networked for months for an interview or you got lucky. Either way, you want to take advantage of this opportunity and do your best. What should you do?
Preparation – Research the company before the interview. Start with their website and put together your questions. If the company is public, there are a lot of questions that you can find out before you go. Start your research online, but don’t forget about calling the company human resources department. Depending how creative you want to be, you can do an interview of the receptionist or someone else at the company.
Questions – Put together questions they may ask you and questions you may have for them. Remember interviews are your opportunity to impress the employer and so you can find out about the employer. In this economy, you may overlook some of the things you find important just to have a job. Ask your question because the employer will judge your interest and suitability based on your question.
Practice – Practice interviewing with a friend. Practice the hard questions such as why you are looking or why did you leave your last position? If you can, video tape your interview because you will see and hear your mistakes. The more you practice, the better you will do. Feeling comfortable in the interview with the questions will give you confidence.
Dress for Success – Some companies are casual, others are business casual and some are still wear suits. It should not matter to the applicant. It is always better to over dress than to be too casual. If it is less formal, you can always take your coat off. Unless you have a personal relationship with the interviewer, dress your best. I recommend a conservative navy blue suit, dress shirt and burgundy tie for men. For women, you should wear a suit (jacket and skirt) or a nice conservative dress. It should not be tight or revealing! Don’t forget your grooming.
Interview Day – Get driving directions and leave early. If you have to fill out any paperwork, allow extra time for it. Bring along a fact sheet so yu can complete the application. It is okay to arrive 5-10 minutes before the interview. Be friendly with the receptionist and ask thoughtful questions. When you meet the interviewer, the first 15 seconds is real important. Smile, greet the person and give a good handshake. Show your personality and enthusiasm, you are being judged!
Interview – You practiced your questions and developed your own questions. Delivery is everything! Make sure you are real and authentic! Be sure to use your personality to develop a rapport. You should smile, be charming and find an excuse to either compliment the interviewer or make a connection. Hiring managers generally hire people they like! Don’t do all the talking! Listening is just as important and follow-up with questions. If the interview is in a restaurant, use your best manners. Bring extra copies of your resume. Interviews are sales situations where you sell them on your skills and they sell you on the company.
Follow-up – Don’t forget to send a thank you note. Call the hiring manager if you have heard a decision in a reasonable period. Keep it low key, but be persistent without being annoying. You are showing interest, but be careful you do not look like a stalker. If you do not get the offer, you want to at least be able to network. You can ask them for advice or a referral to other companies or friends. Use the opportunity to do something positive.
Interviews are scary because you do not normally interview every day. You want to make yourself comfortable in order to be your best. Impressing the interviewer is selling them on your skills and what you can do for the company. Recently, I wrote an article called 20 Interview Questions to Ask Employers which outlines sample questions to impress future employers. The goal of all interviews is to get an offer! You want to do your best and convince the employer you are the right person for them. Following these tips will help you succeed. How to Ace that Interview?
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