An interview can be nerve-racking, especially if you interview in front of a panel of people. The most important tip is: do not let your nerves get the best of you. You made it to this point based on what you bring to the table. Be confident.
Before the Interview
Research: You should have already done your research on the company, the position you are interviewing for and the hiring manager (if possible) before even sending your resume. However, review all the company information again before your interview.
Review: It does not hurt to review common interview questions, especially if this is your first interview. Pick a friend or family member to discuss these questions with or role play for the interview. It is even more beneficial if the person you practice with is in your field. Encourage this person to also throw in a question or two that you may not have prepared for already.
*Remember, when you get to your interview it is not a role-playing scenario and you do not want to sound robotic. Role-playing is used to make you comfortable speaking, not a rehearsal for a performance.
Prepare: There are a few items to prepare for your interview: what you will wear, what to bring and what you will say.
What to wear: Plan out an outfit that fits the company culture (based on your research), keeping in mind the more professional, the better. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
What to bring: Print out extra copies of your resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc. as more individuals may be in the interview than you expected. Also, bring pens and a notepad to take notes. DO NOT bring your cell phone. If you do, turn it off before the interview.
What to say: Prepare a few questions for the interviewee. The hiring manager will think you are engaged and have done your research.
Arrival: Prepare to arrive 15 minutes early to your interview. It will give you time to settle in, get a sense of the company culture in the office, fill out any paperwork they made need from you, etc. Being early is to be on time, being on time is to be late.
During the Interview
Do not let your nerves get to you. It is always easier said than done but, remember this is not your first impression, this is where you seal the deal. In your interview, you want to convey confidence, positive attitude, and authenticity. By preparing ahead of time, you will communicate all of the above and answer all the questions without rambling or fumbling your words.
It is not always what you say, but how you say it. Your body language is also a key to interview success.
- A firm handshake when entering and leaving the room displays confidence
- If interviewed by multiple individuals, remember their name and position so you can address them accordingly
- Eye contact when answering questions displays both confidence and authenticity
- Sit up straight and do not slump down in your chair
- Try not to play with a pen, fidget in your chair or with your shirt, etc. this does not display confidence
- Speak up, do not mumble or chew gum
The interviewers want to meet the person behind the resume.
After the Interview
As the interview ends: ask what the next steps in the process are if they are not previously provided. As you leave, thank the interviewer(s) for their time and give a firm handshake with eye contact.
Post interview: follow up with the interviewer based on either the process they provided or an appropriate time frame. Typically give a few hours to follow up with an additional “thank you” email, but do not inquire about a decision at this time. If the interviewer(s) have given you a time frame for a decision to be communicated, wait. Typically wait a week after to politely follow up on a decision if there was no indication on a decision time-frame.
A successful interview takes research and review before the interview. The more you prepare for the interview, the more confident you will be, and the better your chances for success.
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