Congratulations! Spending days, weeks, or possibly months of looking for the right
job has finally paid off and you've been asked to come in for an interview. Then
comes the biggest question of all, now what? You may only have 15 to 20 minutes to
sell your experiences, attitude, and skills to the employer - most likely without
knowing what the employer wants to hear from you. There are articles upon articles
of advice on interviewing, from how to answer certain questions to how to dress -
right down to the color of your socks!
It can seem overwhelming, but remembering a few key points can help make your interview
Know some basic facts and philosophies about the company.
Know why you are interested in working with the company and in the capacity for which
you are interviewing.
Know what skills you have to offer the company. Be able to substantiate your skills
Carefully consider your answers to possible value-oriented, as well as, factual questions.
Prepare several questions to ask the interviewer. Make your questions specific and
relevant to the position and/or company.
Take with you information that may be asked for on an application.
Be prepared. Don’t overlook anything in preparing for the interview.
Dress professionally in keeping with the standard of the field you are working in
Arrive a few minutes early to your appointment. Call ahead to be courteous if some
emergency keeps you from arriving promptly.
Meet the interviewer with a firm, friendly handshake. Maintain comfortable eye contact
and body language, and smile…smile…smile…
Establish an easy but professional rapport. Be conversational.
Explain why you want to work for the organization and what you have to offer in direct
and understandable terms.
Be flexible, eager to learn, open to new ideas. You have a lot to contribute right
now, but you also have more to learn. Do not try to be an “instant manager or expert”
in a new company.
Be assertive, but not aggressive. When asked a general question, be prepared to
take the lead and highlight specific qualifications.
Give examples. Substantiate your skills with specific achievements
Be precise. Avoid the “I want to work with people” syndrome. What types of people
do you want to work with, under what conditions, what specifically do you want to
do with people, how do you work with others, what have you accomplished in the past,
Be honest. If you can’t answer a question, say so – with an explanation.
Don’t volunteer negative information about yourself or others. If asked about any
weakness, answer truthfully, and then show how you are making efforts to overcome
it. Highlight your strengths.
Express continued interest in learning more about the organization. Show that you
have done your research homework, and ask follow-up questions based on this research
When the interviewer ends your meeting, leave with a warm handshake and a THANK YOU.
If an offer has been made and you decide not to accept it, be certain to let the
employer know as soon as possible. It’s always best to keep the door open for any
potential future opportunity!