It is critical that you thoroughly research the company before your interview so that you are well prepared. Employers will not waste their time getting to know you if you know nothing about them. Review the company website, recent articles or press releases that are online and research current events that are taking place within that company’s industry. The more prepared you are for the interview the more comfortable you will be when answering questions. Overall, the more you know, the better you will look to the employer.
2. Research the person with whom you will be meeting
If you know the name of the person(s) that you will be interviewing with, do some research on their background beforehand. LinkedIn is a great tool for this or just running a general Google search. This will allow you to obtain more detailed information on their background and will perhaps generate some questions or topics that you could discuss during the interview.
3. Dress the part
The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. That’s why it is imperative that you dress for success! Regardless of the work environment, you should always dress professionally for an interview. This shows the employer that you are very serious about the interview process and understand the nature of the industry in which they operate. Unless you are told otherwise, wearing a suit is your best option.
4. Essentials to bring on the interview
Being prepared for the interview can determine whether or not you get the job. These are the essentials that you will need to bring with you:
Resumes – Obviously the employer has already reviewed your resume, however be sure to always bring extra copies with you. Put the copies in a portfolio or a briefcase so that they remain neat. This will also help you continue to look prepared, professional and organized.
Pen and Notepad – You might want to take notes during the interview. Sometimes the interviewer may mention names or key facts that you can later research.
Questions – Always ask questions! Never leave an interview without asking a few additional questions. Even if the interview is very thorough, it is important that you ask questions. This shows you’ve really taken an interest in the company/role and once again came prepared. Feel free to write your questions down ahead of time on the notepad that you bring so you don’t forget to ask them.
References – The employer may ask you for a list of references that can speak on your behalf and attest to your ability to perform the job you are applying for. Be prepared by having at least 3 names of former supervisors/colleagues that are open to answering questions from the potential employer. Include their contact information and be sure that you have asked them ahead of time if you can share their name with a potential employer.
Contact Information for Interviewer – Don’t show up to the interview and forget the name of the person you are supposed to ask for. You most likely will have received a confirmation email when the interview was scheduled. Print that out and bring it with you so you know where you are going and who to ask for upon arrival.
5. Be on time
Do not be late for the interview. This will leave a horrible first impression with the employer and is disrespectful of their time. You want to give yourself enough time to get there and then have a few minutes to relax and gather your thoughts. It is best to arrive no more than 5-10 minutes early for an interview. If you arrive earlier than that then just kill some time before checking in at the lobby.
6. Communication – Verbal and Body Language
Your body language can tell a lot about who you are. Employers want someone who is confident in their own capabilities. Be sure to greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, a smile and have eye contact throughout the conversation. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. When people are nervous they tend to ramble and speak quickly. Take a deep breath, relax and answer the questions clearly and concisely.
Why are you qualified for this job? You may have received a job description prior to the interview. If so, then you can go through and relate your experience to the responsibilities listed for the role. Prepare some key examples of how your skill set relates to the position and the benefits you will bring.
8. Cell Phones
Turn off your cell phone! Even when on vibrate you can still hear the phone ring; therefore it is best to just turn it off completely.
9. Social Media
Given the amount of visibility we have now due to social media it is important that you keep all profiles private. Many employers will Google you before the interview and if they come across inappropriate pictures online it may ruin your chances of getting the job. Be smart with what you share.
10. Follow Up
After the interview be sure to send a thank you email to the person(s) you met with. This should be done as soon as possible. You want to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. You may also want to highlight some of the key points that you discussed regarding your qualifications or perhaps mention something that you forget to go over during the interview. Keep the email somewhat brief and to the point (2-3 small paragraphs).