The hardest part of the job search process is getting your foot in the door. ...
confidence is to read over some practice interview questions and write out some.
Interviewing Best Practices Intro The hardest part of the job search process is getting your foot in the door. Recruiters typically have to sort through stacks of résumés, so if you get a call back, reward yourself for that first accomplishment! Then get ready. This could be the opportunity to capitalize on your investment in four years of noodles and caffeine. The tips below will help you prepare for your interview. Before the Interview Feeling a little queasy about the interview? Being prepared and practiced is probably the best way to be confident in an interview. One method to boost confidence is to read over some practice interview questions and write out some responses. Many employers today use “behavioral questions” during interviews. These questions require the interviewee to give an example from their life that demonstrates a specific skill or behavior. Here are some examples of behavioral interview questions: • Give an example of a problem you faced on the job, and tell me what you did to solve it. •
Give an example of a situation when you had to show good leadership.
Think about the experiences you most want to share with an interviewer, and how you might tie them to various kinds of questions. When making notes of your planned responses, be sure to focus on your role in the situation, and the results that you achieved. That’s what the interviewer wants! Once you know what you want to say, it’s good to verbalize it. Most college career service centers provide a practice interview service – use it! If this is not an option, have a friend or family member interview you, but force them to be objective and give you feedback. It may be beneficial to videotape yourself in order to determine where improvements can be made. The people you will interview with have an expectation that you are genuinely interested in their company. Do your research so you don’t disappoint them! The Internet is a great resource, so there are few excuses to be unprepared. Some key things to learn include company history, financial position, company strengths and weaknesses, current initiatives, and competitive position. Be sure to have an understanding of how the company makes their money. There are
two places which are great for researching companies; the company website and Wikipedia. Beyond the internet, use any resources available. First‐hand experience is most telling, so learn what you can from others who have interned or worked at the company. Still nervous? That’s natural. But remember, you’re interviewing them, too! Print a few extra copies of your résumé, bring a pad of paper and a pen, and take a deep breath. You’re ready for your interview. First Impression It’s important to make a good first impression. Allow yourself adequate time and ensure you have directions to the proper location. Arriving late signals that the interview is not important to you and that you may also have a tardiness habit that might surface on the job. It’s better to arrive early and sit in the car or lobby if you need to. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than a candidate who arrives late. Not sure what to wear? The safest rule is to overdress for the position you are targeting. If you aren’t sure of the company’s culture, it’s better to lean to the conservative side until you know. This means wearing professional clothes, taking out excessive piercings, and not wearing too many accessories. You can always adjust later when you get the job and have more information on dress code and company culture. Be friendly and personable to everyone you meet. The front desk clerk or person who arranged your travel may interact with company executives and influence a hiring decision. If you have good people skills, allow everyone you meet to see them. If you don’t, you may want to focus on improving those areas. Good interpersonal skills are like good hygiene – everyone appreciates them regardless of position! Having a genuine smile is also a good idea; you have made it this far, why not enjoy it! Eye contact is disarming and shows confidence. Hold eye contact for a few seconds when first meeting the interviewer. Have you ever shaken someone’s hand and it felt like a dead fish? A good handshake is essential to a good first impression. Ask anyone! Be firm, but not overpowering. Look at your hand ‐‐ notice the “webbing” between your thumb and index finger? The web of your hand should touch the web of the person with whom you are shaking hands. It might sound odd, but find a friend and practice your handshake!
During the Interview If you’ve ignored your mother for years and never sat up straight, this is a great time to start. Good posture shows you are interested in the interview and also presents a professional image. Be aware of other signals your body language may convey. For example, crossing your arms can make you look defensive or aloof, and shaking legs can give your nerves away. Keep both feet flat on the ground or cross your legs to keep your nerves a secret. Listen carefully to the interviewer. Maintain eye contact and respond or nod so they know you are listening, even if you are furiously taking notes. If you’re really interested in the job, this should be easy! If you’re not, make an effort to make the interview as productive as possible and leave a good impression. During most interviews you will be allowed time to ask questions. This will be easier if you’ve done your homework and have genuine interest in the job. Prepare a few basic questions prior to the interview to have questions to fall back on. If you know how many people you will meet during the interview, you can save a couple of questions for each. If you can personalize them to their role in the company or something they’ve discussed, that’s even better! Here are examples of general questions that could be asked: • What keeps you coming to work on a daily basis? •
Why is this position open?
How will I know if I’m doing a good job?
You’ve been selling yourself through the interview, so remember to close the deal! State that you want the job. The interviewer will be deciding between multiple candidates and they need to know that you are committed to this position. Ask for a business card if the interviewer has not already provided one, and inquire what the next steps are in the interview process. Do not assume you are being hired, but asking reinforces your interest in the position and sets your expectations for follow‐up so you don’t stress out for no reason. Thank the interviewer for their time. Include something about a key point in the interview, perhaps some common ground you shared. Use your web‐to‐web handshake accompanied by a warm smile. Now that wasn’t so bad, huh?
After the Interview Later that day or the next day send a thank you to the interviewer letting them know that you appreciate their time and consideration. Include something that struck you as a key point during the interview. Business etiquette is constantly changing, so you need to choose between an email note and a hand‐written thank‐you for your situation. While a personalized note is always appreciated, the speed of email may be more appropriate if time is of the essence. Interviewing can be a very stressful process, but preparation will pay great dividends!