Today is the day of your interview. Take a deep breath and relax! You have put in the time and effort, and today you get to showcase yourself and your skills to your potential future employer.
What is an Interview?
An interview is a two-way conversation with a purpose: to learn if you are a good fit for the organization. An interview will help you and the employer determine:
CAN you do the job?
WILL you do the job?
Do you WANT this job position?
Will this job CHALLENGE you?
Are you a good FIT for the company?
What to Bring
The morning of your interview, make sure you have all the required materials needed to ace your interview. Materials might include:
Photo identification for building security or your application
Directions to the interview and the exact address, including floor and suite numbers
The name and phone number of the interviewer in case you are running late
A few copies of your resume and cover letter
A prepared list of professional references, in case the employer asks
A pad or paper and pen
Samples of your work if you have been asked to bring them or think you might have an opportunity to show them, if relevant
What to Do When You Arrive
An interview starts as soon as you step inside the building. Be courteous to everyone you meet - you never know who has a say in the hiring decision.
Go light on the perfume. If you smoke, try not to do so right before the interview.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the hiring manager’s office. Aim to arrive 10 minutes early. If you arrive earlier than that, take a walk or wait outside.
If you feel nervous, take a deep breath and count to ten. Then exhale slowly to the same count.
Turn off your cell phone. The interview is too important to be interrupted.
During the Interview
Use the S.T.A.R. Method to answer situational questions.
S: Situation. Describe the context in which the event or problem took place.
T: Task. Identify and explain the task at hand.
A: Action. Recount the action steps that you took to address the problem.
R: Result. End with the resolution, or how you solved the problem.
Impressions and Body Language
Remember that you are being interviewed as soon as you walk into the building. You can learn a great deal about an organization by seeing how well you are received. You never know whether the person you pass in the hallway or in the elevator is part of the interview process.
Most interviewers form an impression of the applicant in the first 30 to 90 seconds. This, in most cases, will remain unchanged for the duration of the interview. To make a good impression, consider the following:
Smile as if you are greeting a friend.
Shake hands firmly and positively.
Maintain eye contact.
Listen with your ears and your eyes. Try not to look distracted.
Much of the communication between human beings is non-verbal. Looking and feeling the part will help you convey to the interviewer that you are professional, focused, and enthusiastic.
Examples of Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Always prepare your own list of questions (at least 1-2) to ask at the end of the interview. Here are a few suggestions:
What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?
What are the company's values? What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?
What is your favorite part about working at the company?
What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?
Are there opportunities for professional development? If so, what do those look like?
Who will I be working most closely with?
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
To view additional information on these questions and more, visit this site.
DO's & DON'Ts
Making and keeping a good impression can make or break your interview. Consider the following tips when going into an interview:
DO bring extra copies of your resume and cover letter.
DO make sure you know the interviewer's name and information.
DO be friendly. Give a firm handshake, make eye contact, speak up.
DO take out your pad or paper and pen so you can take notes.
DO research the company and know what the company does.
DO tell yourself you deserve the job.
DO use the interview to describe your strengths and how they align with the requirements of the position.
DO be prepared to talk about your professional goals.
DO be enthusiastic, courteous, and alert throughout the entire interview.
DO sit calmly. If you tend to gesture a lot when you talk, try clasping your hands in your lap.
DO ask questions about the position. This demonstrates enthusiasm.
DO ask for a business card so that you can send him or her a short and prompt thank-you note and e-mail.
While there are several things you should do during an interview, there are also a lot of things to avoid. Make sure you are avoiding the following to ensure a smooth interview experience.
DON'T arrive more than 10 minutes early.
DON'T bring coffee or a drink. Additionally, if they offer you a drink (besides bottled water), politely decline. They might have to go make the drink, which could take away from your interview time (or you could spill it!).
DON’T bring a friend or child along.
DON’T be insincere. Fake flattery shows.
DON’T wear flashy or noisy jewelry (keep it simple and small) or a facial piercing.
DON’T speak negatively about former employers or colleagues.
DON’T be afraid to express your interest in the position.
DON'T answer a question with "I don't know." Always say, "I will get back to you on that."
DON’T slump, yawn, or chew on your nails or gum during the interview.
DON’T panic if you make a mistake, trip over your words, or even knock something over.
DON'T ask about perks, salary, or time off. Save that for the negotiation conversation.
DON'T ask what the company does. You should have done your due-diligence about the company already.
DON'T complain about physical discomfort.