July 6, 2022
A job candidate’s biggest mistake is not being fully prepared for an interview. Interviewing is a skill in and of itself – and like any skill, practice and preparation make perfect.
Follow these tips to wow your interviewers and demonstrate your interest, passion, knowledge and unique qualifications:
Research the organization.
Learn as much as you can about the job and the company. Begin your research on the organization’s website, but don’t stop there.
- Review recent press releases and annual reports.
- Get to know the company’s products or services, clients and competitors.
- Read business and investor publications. These may include Value Line, Lexis-Nexis, or businessjournals.com for news on specific industries or locations.
- Visit the organization’s LinkedIn and other social media pages. Use your own connections to contact current and former company employees and vendors. And don’t forget your alumni network as a potential information source.
Align your attributes with the job requirements.
Analyze the job description or posting. Outline the abilities, traits and knowledge required. Then, match these up with your own skills and qualifications.
- Conduct a thorough self-assessment. Be ready to present your best accomplishments as they relate to the job on the table.
Rehearse your answers and presentation.
Make a list of anticipated interview questions. Write down your responses. Then, practice with a trusted friend or coach or in front of a mirror. Videotape your rehearsal for evaluation afterwards.
Prepare your own questions, as well. These may include:
- “What makes this a great place to work?”
- “What do you consider the most important criteria for success in this position?”
- “Tell me about your company culture.”
- “How is performance evaluated?”
- “What are the prospects for advancement?”
- “What is the next step in your hiring process?”
Plan what to wear and bring.
Dress for success and look the part. Try and find out the appropriate dress code for the job. Then, for your interview, kick it up a notch. If you are unsure of what to wear, a conservative business suit is always acceptable.
- Keep it conservative. Choose neutral colors and minimize jewelry, makeup and accessories. Be sure your clothes are dry cleaned or wrinkle free. Do a test run of your outfit to be sure it not only looks professional, but makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Accompany that outfit with a professional binder or briefcase. Its contents should include:
- Copies of your resume and list of references. On that note, be sure you give your references a heads up that you will be interviewing, so they are prepared in the event they get a phone call.
- Samples of your work, if relevant. Package these neatly into a folder or portfolio.
Pay attention to your non-verbal communication.
Body language speaks volumes. Project confidence – and be assertive, but not aggressive. Smile, offer a firm handshake, and maintain eye contact with your interviewers.
- Mind your posture. Sit up straight, but not ramrod. Avoid nervous gestures such as tapping your feet. Use only minimal hand gestures.
- Be attentive, but don’t stare. When responding, address all aspects of a question, without rambling.
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