Acing the Interview!
If you are called in for an interview, this means the potential employer has reviewed your resume and cover letter and decided you may have the skills that fit the positon. The next step would be to set up an interview to see if you are a good fit for the company. Prior to going into the interview the following tips will be helpful.
Research the company:
Do your research! An employer will know if you have researched their company by reviewing your cover letter and listening to your answers to some of the interview questions.
Employers want to know candidates have researched the company prior to the interview. By doing research you greatly increase your chance of being hired. This means knowing what the company does and the details of the jobs you’re applying for. Some other things you can try to find out include:
- The company’s mission and values
- What the company culture is like
- Who their management team is
- Who their competition is
- Who their clients are
- How they reach their market – some ways to find this out include:
- The company website
- Company social media accounts
Dress professionally and be well groomed:
Dressing professionally may mean different things in different industries. If you’re not sure, stop by and find out. If you are not able to, it’s best to dress formal (dress pants and top). Make sure you’re appearance is clean and neat. Some might think this advice is obvious but we know not everyone pays attention to it. Make sure your breath is fresh! Brush your teeth and don’t apply cologne or perfume. And don’t smoke beforehand.
Be on time or a bit early:
Don’t be late for the job interview, but don’t be too early either. Five or ten minutes early is fine. Make sure you know exactly where you are going so you don’t get lost on the way and end up being late.
Bring a copy of your resume:
Bring a printed copy of your resume and any other documents that might be required including:
- Letters of recommendation; reference sheet
- Paper and pen for notes
- Copies of pertinent certificates and diplomas
- Portfolio of sample work (if applicable)
- Company information you have gathered
- List of questions you have prepared
Be friendly to everyone you meet:
Be nice to everyone, including the security personnel, the receptionist, and the person who lets the door close in your face while you’re entering the building. You never know who is watching or who knows who – the person you snap at because they are in your way might be the person you are interviewing with.
Smile and make eye contact:
Smile! You need to convey that you are friendly and likeable. Making eye contact shows that you are interested and alert. Don’t stare into the person’s eyes though and try to make eye contact from time to time.
Prepare and practice interview questions:
- Go over your resume
- Determine the “awkward” questions and practice straightforward short answers, by saying them out loud
- Prepare for behavioural questions using the STAR technique – click here for more info STAR technique
- Know what accomplishments mean the most to you and the ones that might relate to the job you are pursuing
- Think about the things you have done, what are the transferable skills?
- Study the usual questions – how will you answer them?
- Ask someone to give you feedback on your answers (perhaps your employment consultant)
Check out these Possible Interview Questions
For some questions you will have to have a story ready, such as one about a time you dealt with a challenging situation. Make sure you have these stories prepared so you don’t get stuck with nothing to say. People remember stories rather than short sentences which means they will remember you!
Do you have any questions for me?
This is your chance to take control of the interview. You can often convey your competence and confidence to an employer more impressively with the questions you ask than the ones you answer. Asking smart questions can demonstrate that you have some knowledge of the industry, and that you are already thinking about how you can contribute to it. The least desirable scenario, from the employer’s perspective, is when a potential employee has no questions, so don’t just say, “No.” It is also best to avoid questions such as, “How much does it pay?”; “How soon am I eligible for vacation time?” or “How long does it usually take to get promoted?” Possible Questions to ask a Potential Employer
Get the email addresses of everyone you interview with:
If you are able, obtain contact information for each person you meet with.
Follow up with a thank-you note:
Send a thank-you note afterwards, later that same day. Thank those who attended the interview for taking the time to meet with you. Reiterate your interest in the position and why you are a great fit for the job. Keep it short. Then you wait. If you hear nothing for a week or two, follow up again in an email or phone call. Keep the follow up short as well. You can say you were really excited to learn more about the opportunity and look forward to hearing from them soon. Don’t put your eggs in one basket, move on and keep applying for other positions until you are hired.
If you aren’t successful in your first few interviews, try not to get discouraged. Eventually, someone will say “Yes! You are exactly what we need!”