Just out of college? Changing jobs? Switching careers? The reasons are plentiful for starting the job hunt process and interview scene. Preparing for what you may encounter at an interview can mean the difference between landing the job of your dreams or being passed over.
Interview prep usually takes the form of knowing what you should do before, during and after the actual meeting. Here are some simple and strategic ways to prepare for your interview.
Before the Interview
Now that your resume and cover letter landed you an interview, you still have some homework to do. The most important thing you can do prior to getting to the first interview is to research the company. A simple search engine check can tell you quite a bit about the company. Find out as much as you can about the culture, requirements, goals, branding, and employees as you can. The more you know, the more well versed you will be at the interview.
Research both company and employee reviews online as well as general information that can tell you a little bit about the job you have applied for. Glassdoor is a great place to start for this part of your research. You will also want to ask your friends and relatives if they know anyone at the company so you can learn as much as possible.
In addition to your research, you will want to plan ahead by printing extra copies of your resume, references, and planning what you will wear on the interview day. Plan for this accordingly because you may feel out of place if you should up decked out and they are a casual office. Gauge your attire accordingly.
Practicing your interview skills is a good idea as well prior to the day of the interview. Have a two minute introduction of your past work experience and special skills. If you have done your research properly you will be able to tailor your “elevator pitch” to the open position.
During the Interview
It is important to start your interview off with a positive impression. To do this, we suggest showing up a bit early and dressing appropriately.
Remember your non-verbal communication as well as what you actually say. Make eye contact, smile, and answer questions as directly as possible. Sit up straight and ask thoughtful questions.
Monster, an online career search company, recommends being confident but not cocky, as well as using appropriate language, and never talking badly about your last employer.
After the Interview
It’s always a smart move to email or send a letter thanking the hiring manager and the other members of the interview team. This lets the team know that you are interested in the position and are good with follow through.
If you need advice or assistance preparing for your interviews you may want to attend our workshop, “Interviewing Skills for the Job Candidate” on March 27th.