A job interview can be nerve-wracking; it’s your last chance to show a potential employer why you’re the best person for the job. By following these seven steps, you’ll make the most of your opportunity to rise above your competition when you’re put on the spot.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Although you may not know exactly what the interviewer is going to ask you, there are ways you can prepare in advance.
“The most important thing is to research the position and the company,” says Jesika McCauley, director of career services for Globe University. “Do your homework. Have a pretty good idea of what the position entails, who the company’s customers and competitors are and any recent news about it.
In addition to researching the company and position, practice answering general questions about your skills and experience by having a friend or family member pose as the hiring manager in a mock interview.
Make a Good First Impression
You only get one chance at a first impression, and when it comes to job interviews, McCauley says it’s important to make a good one because it can have a lasting effect.
“A lot of it comes from your appearance,” she says. “What you wear depends on your industry, but you should look well-polished, be confident and have a good handshake.”
McCauley adds that, although it may sounds silly, it’s a good idea to practice your handshake.
Showcase Your Value
The hiring manager has already seen your resume and cover letter and chose to interview you because he or she wanted to learn more. This is an opportunity for you to expand on your experience and explain why you’re the best candidate.
“When you’re answering questions, focus on your skills and why you’re a good fit for the position,” says McCauley. “Talk about your previous skills and why they’re relevant to their company, and use examples.”
McCauley recommends always preparing a few questions to ask at the end of your interview. Write them down and bring them in a padded portfolio.
“Asking questions shows you’re interested in the position, that you did your research and that you’re interested in learning more,” she says.
Your questions can focus on what a typical career path for someone starting out in the position is, what the goals for the department are, what your training or first day will entail, or what the timeline is for the hiring decision.
Avoid Common Pitfalls
There are a few things that can hurt your chance at landing the job, but these mistakes can be easily avoided.
“The biggest mistake I see people make is being over-confident in what they call ‘people skills,’” McCauley says. “They don’t prepare and just rely on ‘winging it.’”
She points out that charisma can only take you so far, and being prepared will only supplement your natural people skills. Not being on time is another pitfall that can be easily evaded.
“Another mistake is being late because you didn’t know where to go or how long it would take you to get there,” McCauley says. “Drive it out ahead of time so that you know exactly how much time to allow yourself.”
One of the most important parts of the interview process is what you do afterward. You should always follow up, even if you decide you are no longer interested in the position. Always send a note thanking everyone you interviewed with – not just the hiring manager or HR representative – for their time. McCauley says collecting everyone’s business cards is a good way to get their contact information.
“You can mention something that was memorable, something you forgot to say during the interview that might sway them your way or reconfirm your interest in the position,” she says about what to include in the thank-you.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Even if you blow your chance at your dream job, McCauley assures that something else will come up. She stresses the importance of learning from your mistakes so that you don’t continue the same pattern.
“Every situation is a learning opportunity,” she says. “It’s always good to look at what you can do better. Take ownership, and look at it as a way to work on your professional development.”
To learn more about Globe University and career support services visit www.globeuniversity.edu/about-us/career-services.