You’ve landed an interview with a company. You’re nervous, but excited at the opportunity. Although interviewing can be stressful and exhausting, here are some tips for having the best interview possible.
Before the interview:
- Research the company. Go beyond just browsing the company website. If they have a blog, read a few recent or popular articles to better understand the business. Knowing more about the company than just what they do is important and will help you formulate answers that show you took time and truly care about the position.
- Dress to impress. Although many offices are leaning more towards the business casual dress code, you still want to look as professional as possible. This is where the research comes into play as well. If the company is casual, you may not want to show up in a full suit; it’s good to be safe but also know your audience.
- Prepare questions. Have at least 3-5 go to questions that will allow the interviewer to provide more about the business, position and culture so you can understand if the position is a good fit.
- Prepare answers. Many interviewers ask situational based questions. Have a few answers/stories prepared for questions such as occasions. Also, have answers for the strengths and weakness questions. (Look for our next blog on situational questions).
During the interview:
- Arrive on time. It is a safe bet to arrive between 10-15 minutes before your interview. If you arrive more than 15, the interviewer may feel pressure that you’re there too early. Showing up late to an interview may be construed as not caring or not taking the position seriously. If for some reason you are running late, even by a few minutes, let the hiring manager know. Rule of thumb, if you are early you are on time, if you are on time you are late.
- First impressions are key. No matter if it is the receptionist, an employee in the hall, or the interviewer, you always want to greet everyone with a good attitude and be polite. Creating a lasting and positive first impression can make or break an interview. Firm handshakes are a must!
- Be yourself and stay focused. Be authentic, polite, energetic and focused. You are qualified for the position you’re interviewing for, that is why you’re there. But a huge factor in hiring is if you are good fit for the company culture. Being yourself will show you and the interviewer if this position is a right fit, and if you would be content working for the company. Stay focused on the questions being asked. Sometimes when we talk we just ramble on due to nerves or a variety of other reasons. Try to stay on point and answer the questions in depth.
- Ask questions. You prepared questions in “Before the interview” phase, so now is your chance to ask them. Bring a notepad with you to write down the ones you want to ask, and any questions that pop into your head during the interview.
- Sell yourself. You may not be interviewing for a sales position, but you need to sell yourself. Convince the interviewer that you are a great fit for the job. A good question to ask at the end is if there was anything that you’ve said that would give them doubt you aren’t good for the role. It may be a little bold, but it shows confidence and that you truly want this position.
After the interview:
- Thank you notes. Remember to get business cards from all the people you interview with, or at least get their information. Tailor each thank you note to the specific interviewer and provide a personal touch of something you discussed. And it is okay and probably preferable to send it through email. It is more efficient and effective.
- Follow up. In the interview, if they gave a specific timeline of when you should hear, do not jump the gun and contact the company before then. If it has been a bit of time after, reach out and discuss that you are still very interested in the position, and the next steps moving forward.
We’ve all had great and some not so great interview experiences, but hopefully with these tips, every experience from now all will be a little better than the one before. Practice makes perfect, and interviewing is no exception.
Laura Nelson, LEED GA