10 tips for a successful job interview. These rules and tips will help job-seekers to maximize potential employment opportunities… and receive job offers you deserve.
- Speak clearly and enthusiastically about your experiences and skills. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid of short pauses. You may need a few seconds to formulate an answer. (Learn how to better answer interview questions by using our Job Interview Database.)
- Be positive. Employers do not want to hear a litany of excuses or bad feelings about a negative experience. If you are asked about a low grade, a sudden job change, or a weakness in your background, don’t be defensive. Focus instead on the facts (briefly) and emphasize what you learned from the experience.
- Be prepared to market your skills and experiences as they relate to the job described. Work at positioning yourself in the mind of the employer as a person with a particular set of skills and attributes. Employers have problems that need to be solved by employees with particular skills; work to describe your qualifications appropriately.
- Research information about the company before the interview. Some important information to look for includes what activities are carried out by the employer, how financially stable the employer is, and what types of jobs exist with the employer. Researching an employer during the job search can help determine more about that organization and your potential place in it. Know how you can help the company and prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the company.
- Arrive early for the interview. Plan to arrive for your interview 10-15 minutes before the appointed time. Arriving too early confuses the employer and creates an awkward situation. By the same token, arriving late creates a bad first impression and may doom your chances. Ask for directions when making arrangements for the interview.
- Carry a portfolio, notepad or at the very least, a manila file folder labeled with the employer’s name.
- Bring extra resumes and a list of questions you need answered. You may refer to your list of questions to be sure you’ve gathered the information you need to make a decision. Do not be preoccupied with taking notes during the interview.
- In many career fields, the lunch or dinner included during the interview day encompasses not only employer hospitality, but also a significant part of the interview process. Brush up on your etiquette and carry your share of the conversation during the meal. Often social skills are part of the hiring decision.
- After the interview, take time to write down the names and titles (check spelling) of all your interviewers, your impressions, remaining questions and information learned. If you are interviewing regularly, this process will help you keep employers and circumstances clearly defined.
- Follow up the interview with a thank-you letter. Employers regard this gesture as evidence of your attention to detail, as well as an indication of your interest in the position.
Final Thoughts on Job-Seeker Interviewing Success
Two bonus interviewing tips from employers:
- What you don’t say can be as important as what you do say in job interviews. Understanding and maximizing your non-verbals — smiling, eye contact, hand-shake, posture, and the like — will help you excel in the interview.
- Dress appropriately for the job interview. Typically, dress to the level — or one level above — of the job you are seeking. It’s not all about expensive suits — it’s about looking the part and wearing clothes that are clean and fit you well. Remember, dress for success.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
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