You’ve just written and sent out the perfectly designed resume, and it worked, it caught the eye of the hiring manager. You’re excited, and yet a little concerned, as if you now must meet your interviewer face to face. While it is true that interviews can make individuals nervous at times, it is also true that there are proven ways to make the experience all the more relaxing, and give you control over your responses and reactions.
Basic Preparation for Your Job Interview
Basic preparation for your job interview is not as hard as you may think. While it is true, that it can be confusing, by following the steps in this guide, you should be off to a fantastic start in readying yourself for that big day. Below, we have outlined a few of the basics to get you on your feet.
Complete Documents ahead of Time
When you get ready for your interview, it cannot hurt to bring a copy of your resume or CV with you to the interview. Take the time to purchase a nice, professional portfolio to place your resume and cover letter into. Make sure you have used right resume objectives and your resume is free from typos and errors, and is properly laid out. Next, take care that you know exactly what is on your resume, so you can answer any questions without pause or hesitation, and have them correlate with the information on your resume. This gives you credibility.
Research the company
Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable about the company, interested and eager to join their team. Research the important statistics and facts about the business and their corporate atmosphere. As you research, try to think how your presence with the company can assist it in achieving their goals. Remember, the company is only interested in how you can help them achieve their goals. An added plus is if you can find information regarding your interviewer, such as their name and how they contribute to the corporate structure. Lily Zhang has published a very detailed guide on researching a company that will also help you on this stage.
Research the Interview Process
The internet is absolutely laden with information and videos on how to proceed through the interview process, so be sure to take advantage of this fantastic resource. Below we have a basic list of items to get you started in your research of the interview process.
Research Common Interview questions
While you will never know exactly what questions the interviewer will ask you, you can still prepare yourself by covering some of the basic questions. You will find samples of these questions in on web pages and videos. Examples of these questions include:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What can you offer the company?
- What can you tell us about our company?
What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
No matter what job you will be interviewing for, there is a good chance your interviewer will as you about your strengths and weaknesses. When you think about the strengths, make sure you structure your answer in such a way that it centers around what strength you can offer the company. For example, “I am focused and always finish what I start.”
When it comes to the weakness, make sure that your answer still positive. For example, if you are interested in a retail manager position, and they ask you what your weakness would be, “I sometimes take on too much.” While this is a ‘weakness’, it is also an attribute that the interviewer may recognize as someone who is not afraid to work.
Show Interest in the Position by Questioning the Interviewer
This is one element that is frequently overlooked, but is important. When you ask a question of the interviewer, you are showing interest in their corporate structure, and that you have done research on the company. Remember, companies are only interested in what you can do for them, so asking questions and being interested is a plus to you. Sample questions include:
- What would my everyday duties be?
- How can one achieve success with this company?
- Are there opportunities for growth in this company?
All of the above questions illustrate that you see yourself as a long term, active member of their business.
Personality counts. Many interviewers consider personality very important as you will be working in a team environment. It’s a good idea to avoid playing a character, or becoming a caricature of yourself. You want to blend your personality and responses in a professional and sincere manner. Remember that the hiring manager sees many people each week, which means that they can hone in on fakery in a second. Don’t bet that you can fool them.
Dressing appropriately is an extremely important aspect of the interview. If you are interviewing for a leadership position, such as administrative managerial position, make sure you come in a properly fitting, classic suit. In positions such as working with machinery, you can dress in more casual attire, nice pants and collared shirt and tie.
Make sure you keep perfumes and colognes to a minimum. Jewelry should be basic and used only to accent your complete look, and not overwhelm it. Colors should be neutral or dark, avoiding anything shocking such as bright lime green. When you look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself if your look is classic and professional. If so, you are well on your way to a winning look.
Posture, Presence and Attention
Once you have researched your company, rehearsed some of the basic questions and have your chosen attire, you are ready to concentrate on your presence. Your presence is a huge part of your overall presentation of your self. This is how the interviewer will see you, and judge whether or not you will be a good fit for their organization. Here are some basic elements to consider when you practice your interview skills.
Arrive on time. Punctuality is extremely important. Unless they called you that day for an interview, which is unlikely, there is no excuse for not arriving on time. If you cannot arrive to your interview on time, then your interviewer will probably consider that a serious strike against you, your desire for the position and your overall sincerity.
Having Excellent Posture
Slouching will get you nowhere. No matter how perfect your overall presentation, if your posture is one that exhibits a slouch, you will come across as incompetent, or slow. You need to sit up straight, and lean forward slightly. Leaning forward projects your interest in what the interviewer has to say. So, sit up straight, be alert and give your complete attention to your interviewer.
Give the Hiring Manager Your Complete Attention
Listening to the interviewer and targeting your answer to their question is a necessary part of the interview process. Make sure you tailor your answers to what they ask, keeping the answer tight and to the point. Taking out a notepad and making notes is a completely acceptable practice. Note taking accentuates the act of paying attention, and in doing so, showing the hiring manager you are engaged in the interview process, are detailed orientated and organized.
The Interview is About You and What You Can Offer
After you have grabbed the attention of the hiring manager with your resume, now comes the time to start to wrap it up, to believe in yourself. This is easier than it sounds, especially if it is a position you really desire. As a result, we have gathered a few hints for you to consider when centering yourself on your interview process.
Be Aware of the Conversation
During your interview, it may be good to be aware of the conversation. Make sure that that you are not speed talking, or forcing conversation. Relax, and listen and don’t offer up unnecessary information. Focus on what the interviewer is saying and asking. Also, take care to make sure you are not so nervous that you are ‘talking with your hands’ too much, and instead, rest your hands on your lap, in a professional manner.
Don’t Shy Away From Your Duties
This means that you should be up for the challenge. Whatever the interviewer suggests, provide a positive response. If the job requires frequent overtime, and the interviewer mentions this as a possibility, make sure you say you can do it if you want the job. If they ask if you can think on your feet, then say “yes”. You need to be able to give the interviewer what they need to hear.
Show How You Can Be An Asset
Show the interviewer that you have what it takes to make the company reach its goals. However, make sure that you do not exaggerate your skill set. Remember, if you are hired, you will have to live up the the hype you delivered during the interviewer. This is a chance to shine, so be true to your personality, and do not be shy.
When you were in the process of composing your resume or CV, the addition of certificates of excellence show that you are up interested in keeping up with new skill sets. Use some award certificate templates to create different awards of your skills. These award certificates exhibit show the hiring manager that you will always be keeping up with new skills, such as learning software or attending seminars. During the interview process, the mention of award certificates enhances your chances for attaining the position.
The Thank You Letter
One of the details people often overlook, is the importance of the follow up. Following up with the interviewer means that you are interested in the position. While calling the interviewer on the phone is often discouraged, a well written email or hand written follow up letter is often appreciated.
The thank you letter or email should include the highlights of your interview. Use the notes you took during the interview to assist you in composing the thank you letter. Be courteous and professional, and thank the interviewer for giving you the opportunity and the possibility of hearing from them in the future. Remember to include your contact information on the thank you letter as well.
Several Common Mistakes to Avoid
By following the basic outline above, you have a good starting point in researching your interview skills. However, there are certain elements that you should never do, and we have included some of those elements here.
No Cell Phones at the Interview
Before the interview, simply turn your phone off. All the preparation in the world will not save you during an interview if you answer a call or make a text. It goes without saying that entering an interview with your phone on, you might as well not go into that interview at all.
No Food or Drink
No matter how nervous you are, avoid going to the bar before the interview. Under no circumstances do you want to enter your interview smelling of tobacco, alcohol and carrying a coffee. You will risk elimination for the job if you come in with so much as a sandwich and a soda. Have a healthy breakfast, go to your interview, and afterwards have a smoke and meal.
Avoid Talking About Vacation and Salary
No interviewer will be keen to hire anyone who is more interested in the vacation time, than what they can give to the company. The same applies to salary and benefits. If you talk about vacation time, salary and benefits, you risk coming across as an individual who has no interest in helping the company reaching its goals, but every interest in securing a comfortable place to nap and collect benefits. Always make the focus of your interview about your skill set and what you can do for the company.
Avoid Negative Talk Regarding Past Employers
There is a chance that your interviewer will ask you about your past employers. Absolutely avoid talking negatively about your past experiences. No one likes a gossip, and no matter what you encountered in your past situation, please make sure you avoid any and all negativity. This will reflect badly on you as someone who may cause difficulties in the workplace.
There you have it, some of the basic elements of securing a successful interview with a hiring manager. While no two situations are alike, you can rest assured that the information presented to you in this article can help you with further research online. The internet has a vast selection of videos and helpful websites to get you started. In the end, with careful preparation the interview process should go smoothly and easily.