With a little bit of preparation and effort, interviewing for a job doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Take a look at the following quick tips to help you make a good impression when you are called for your next job interview.
Preparing for the Interview
You can prepare appropriately by following these tips:
- Research the company and position. Ask your recruiter how to obtain company literature and a written job description if possible. Visit the company web site and familiarize yourself with the key information located there.
- Know yourself and your qualifications. Know your resume – often an employer asks a question derived from the information on a resume. If the response is not consistent with the information written, you will lose credibility.
- Consider your short and long term career goals and be able to explain them.
- Be prepared with a list of questions about the job, the organization and the company that you would like answered.
- Know where, when and with whom the interview will take place.
Common Interview Questions
Although interviews will vary, there are some questions that tend to be used more frequently than others. Common questions include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why did you leave your last job and/or previous positions?
- Why do you want to work for this organization/company?
- Why should I hire you?
- How would your current/last supervisor describe you?
- Are you willing to work overtime, weekends, or nights?
- What salary range are you looking for?
- When are you available to start a new job?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What qualifications do you have that relate to this position?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- Discuss a time when you had to deal with a major change.
- Tell me about a difficult customer you worked with and how you handled them.
- Give me an example of a complex problem you had to solve and how you approached it.
- What are your long-term career goals?
- Why did you choose your college major?
- What courses did you like least/best? Why?
- What supervisors may we contact for references?
- What questions do you have for me?
Making a Positive First Impression
By following the guidelines below, you will help ensure you begin your interviewing experience on a positive note:
- Appearance – Dress appropriately and professionally. Dress conservatively and make sure your clothing is clean and neat.
- Arrival Time – Plan ahead for unseen circumstances to ensure you arrive early. Don’t make your entrance any more that 15-20 minutes before your scheduled interview time, unless specifically told to do so in order to complete applications.
- Items to Bring – Bring extra copies of your resume as well as a list of references. You may want to bring a notepad and a pen to take notes on items of interest. Depending on your profession, you may also want to take along samples of your work.
- Bring a Firm and Confident Handshake
- Maintain Good Eye Contact
- Sit straight in your chair ….. don’t be a slouch.
- Be a Good Listener – The employer is responsible for leading the discussion. You will get your turn.
- Be Confident (not cocky) – take a good positive attitude with you. Let them know you will not let them down and that you have the right skills and experience they are looking for and a strong desire to succeed.
- Be Prepared with Your Questions for them – some possible questions may include:
- How did this position become available?
- What is your background?
- What made you decide to join the company?
- What will be the top priority for the person who accepts this job?
- What is the main strength you are looking for from this new person?
- How would you describe the culture in your company?
- Can you tell me about the near and long term plans for the company?
- How would you describe your competition?
- What are the company’s greatest challenges near and long term?
- DO NOT ask about the compensation at this point.
- DO let them know that you want the position – if you do.
- Ask them about the next steps in their process.
- Be courteous to Everyone You Meet – Be respectful and polite to all individuals you come in contact with when you arrive for the interview.
Within 24 hours of your interview send the employer a “thank you” letter. If you remain interested in the opportunity, make sure you reiterate your feelings. Let him/her know that you are excited about the opportunity to become a member of his/her team!