So you sent your resume, got a call, and now it is time for your first interview. After all the hard work you put in over the past few years of schooling, hours perfecting your resume, more countless hours sending your resume, and time spend on the initial greeting call, the last thing you want to do is be unprepared for your first interview. We have compiled a list of interview tips and techniques to help you pass your interview and nail down your dream position.
Step #1 Do Your Research
Always research the company before the interview to learn as much as possible about their offered services, products, customers and competition. Pay close attention to the names of any business owners, the company history, and their mission statement. By doing this research ahead of time not only will have a clear understanding of the company’s needs, you will also feel more comfortable and well versed in the interview. Another item you will want to research is what position and tasks you will be responsible for based off the position you are applying. Make sure you read and re-read over the job description and requirements.
Step #2 Do Dress to Impress
Decide what you want to wear a few days before the interview. Depending on the industry and position, get out your best interview clothes and check them over for spots and wrinkles. Recent studies have shown that colors also represent who you are, and employers pay attention to that. If you are interviewing for a management position wear mostly black. Blue is also highly recognized as a color for managers and high qualified candidates. Females are encouraged to wear their hair down, nails polished, and makeup of natural shades. Males are encouraged to make sure their nails are clean (no dirt), hair (including facial hair) has been recently cut or trimmed.Employers look at you as a part of their company, so they are going to go with the candidate that they feel best represents them both on paper and in person. Above all, dress for confidence. If you feel good, others will respond to you accordingly.
Step #3 Come Prepaired
Bring along a folder containing extra copies of your resume, a copy of your references and paper to take notes. You should also have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. For extra assurance. It is also encouraged that you bring any materials that may be needed if you are hired on the spot. ie: Drivers license, social security card, blank check for direct deposit, and any accreditation or certifications you may hold.
Step #4 Arrive Early
Never arrive late to an interview. Allow extra time to arrive early in the vicinity, allowing for factors like getting lost. Enter the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. This will also allow you to sit down and cool your thoughts as you await to be called into the interview.
Step #5 Be Enthusiastic
Start with a firm (not too firm) handshake. A handshake is going to be your first impression to the employer as a strong handshake shows confidence. When speaking or answering questions always use eye contact and do not fidget with items. Strong eye contact and ability to remain focused in the conversation shows that you are not only comfortable in the setting, but also with what is being asked. Show enthusiasm for the position by sharing why you got into this industry, what drew you to their company, and what you like most about the position that is being offered.
Step #6 Listen
In an interview, it can be easy to get distracted, side tracked, or thinking about what you said and analyzing how the interiew is going. The last thing you want to do in an interview is not listen. Pay close attention to what the interviewer is saying and asking from you.
Step #7 Answer Properly
There are countless times when interviewers report that the candidates were not able to properly answer questions becasue they completely missed the mark on what was being asked. This is an important skill not only in interviews, but also in your career life. A big red flag to an employer is when a candidate can not be clear, quick and concise when answering a question.
Step #8 Provide Examples
Employers love to hear about your experiences and accomplishments. Not only does it help to remind them of your past positions, it also helps humanize you. After reading through hundreds of resumes, examples of your work help them connect to who you are and what you are capable of past your degree. Provide them with one specific example of your background that is detailed and highlights how you went above and beyond. Prepare what you are going to share before the interview so you feel confident in what you are going to say. This will also allow you to make sure your story is clear and concise.
Step #9 Ask Questions
Take the time to ask questions that you may still have about the company, culture, or position you have interviewed for. This is just as much about you finding your career job as it is about them finding a high qualified, long term candidate.
Step #10 Follow Up
The interview follow-up is one more chance to remind the interviewer of all the valuable traits you bring to the job and their company. Don’t miss this last chance to market yourself. Either do it through an email or a personalized thank you letter. Thank you letters are also a way to show your vested interest in the position.