Landing a job interview is only half the battle. Once you get to the interview, it’s important to that you make enough of a POSITIVE impression that you outshine the competition and score the job you’ve been waiting for.
IBMC has put together a list of helpful tips to help you do just that!
- Practice, practice, practice. The old saying, “Practice makes perfect,” applies to interview questions, too. The best way to prepare for questions that might be thrown your way is to practice answering a variety of sample interview questions. You can find a list of possible questions on many job-hunting and resume posting sites, such as CareerBuilder.com. We think these sample q’s are a good starting point.
- Do your homework. Going into a job interview and knowing little or nothing about the company you’re applying for is a bad idea. In fact, it’s a TERRIBLE idea. Take the time to do some research about the company, find out what they stand for, and the type of business that they operate. If you don’t know anything about the company, how can you convince your interviewer that you’d be a good fit?
- Preparation is key. You know those days where your alarm clock doesn’t go off, your hair won’t seem to cooperate, and as you’re running out of the door, you can’t seem to find your car keys? We’ve all been there and we know how stressful this can be. To avoid these fiascoes on the day of your interview, prepare the night before. Print directions to the place where you’ll be interviewing and iron the clothes you plan to wear. We also recommend buying an inexpensive 2-pocket folder (studies show that blue is the best color, as it is appealing to both genders and conveys a business feel) and placing your resume, letters of recommendation, and list of referrals in it. We recommend bringing a notebook and pen, as well. Finally, remember to set your alarm for 15-20min earlier than you normally would. This will give you extra time to tame that unruly hair or find the car keys that you accidentally left in the refrigerator…again.
- Arrive on time. By this, we really mean, arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. In the interview world, that is what is considered “on time.” Remember, arriving too early is also bad. You want to show the potential employer that you respect their time and recognize that they have other things going on throughout the day. If you arrive too early, you may disrupt the interviewer during a meeting (or other interview) and leave them wondering, “Why are they here so early?”
- Beware the “Dead Fish Handshake.” Upon meeting the potential employer, be sure to shake hands firmly while making eye-contact. Even if you’re nervous (and let’s be honest, who isn’t during an interview?), an assertive handshake will convey confidence. There’s nothing worse than shaking someone’s hand and feeling as if you’ve just held a dead fish.
- Sell yourself, because if you don’t, who will? The interview is your time to shine! Be sure to highlight your strengths and relate your experiences and skills to the company’s needs. We recommend taking a second look at the job description and using keywords from the description in answers to the interview questions. Also, remember to smile. You can be as well-rehearsed as possible, but you want to seem friendly and warm when giving your answers.
- Follow-up with the interviewer. Don’t forget to send a thank-you email to the interviewer for taking the time out of their day to meet with you. This may seem like a small step, but it has powerful effects. It will show the potential employer that you value their time and you are grateful that they have given you the opportunity to express why you’re the best candidate for the job.
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