Interviewing: Prepare

Before you step into the interview room, you should arm yourself with as much information as possible. Spend some time with the job posting and do your best to understand exactly what the company is looking for in a prime candidate. The more you know about an industry and position, the better you will be able to prepare for your interview. You’ll have a good gauge on what you can expect to be asked, which will help you think about appropriate responses.

If you can, ask a close friend or mentor to help you rehearse for your interview. Gather common questions and review appropriate responses. Try to incorporate your skill set and other positive attributes in each reply, as long as you don’t stray off topic. When interviewing, take care to completely answer every question, but don’t have an overly lengthy response. Keep your answers succinct and clear to showcase your effective communication skills. Additionally, a concise reply makes you appear more confident and knowledgeable in comparison to a rambling response.

When you construct answers to expected questions, do not memorize a paragraph. Instead, focus on a few professional anecdotes that show how effective you are in the work place. Highlight any key decisions made under pressure and relate the positive effects of your snap judgments. Focus on your decision making process and even think about a few mistakes you’ve made in your career. While interviewing, hiring managers are particularly likely to ask questions regarding these facets of your professional life so far.

Make the Best First Impression Possible at All Times

From the moment you arrive at the interview destination, you should assume that every one you meet is an important part of the company. To make the best impression possible while interviewing, follow these tips:

  • Plan your wardrobe according to the culture of the industry and your profession. Keep accessories to a minimum and if you are unsure about your outfit, always choose to overdress instead of under.

  • Don’t just arrive on time. Show up 15 minutes early in case you need to do some extra paperwork or just to give yourself time to gather your thoughts before entering the interview room.

  • Be polite to everyone from the security guard to the CEO. You never know who might be asked about their first impression of you.

    • Stay positive at all times.
  • When interviewing, remember to be as candid and authentic as possible. Memorized answers don’t convey interest and enthusiasm like a less rehearsed response.

  • Stay conscious of your body language and avoid nervous ticks or movements.

    • Maintain eye contact and smile when appropriate.
  • Do not chew gum, mumble, fidget, slouch or look off into the distance when you are anxious.

    Remaining cool and confident is the key to interviewing well. There may be some questions that catch you completely off guard, but when that happens, just pause, gather your thoughts and give the best answer possible. Identify the purpose of the question and tailor your response accordingly while still being honest about your professional merit.

    Tips for Closing the Deal

    Closing the deal doesn’t take place at the end of the interview. Instead, the entire process contributes to whether or not you receive a job offer. As such, take advantage of every opportunity to highlight your talents as an employee. Be direct, but still try to incorporate details that make you look like an appealing candidate.

    As the interviewing process winds down, you will have the opportunity to ask the hiring manager questions about the company and position. In particular, this is something you should prepare for before the interview. If you think of a valid question during the discussion, feel free to ask. Otherwise, compile a list of questions that are relevant to the job. Even in this part of the interview, you can appear insightful or eager to work with the company, so make the most of the opportunity.

    Once the interviewing part is over, you should thank the hiring manager for his or her time and inquire about the next steps in the process. You can thank the interviewer in person or you can contact him or her via email or snail mail. Initiating contact after the interview may keep you in the front of the hiring manager’s mind and show enthusiasm for the position. Gauge the room and choose whatever from of contact you think is most appropriate.

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