Let’s start by answering - What is an Interview?
An interview is a meeting between you and another person, party or employer. It can be formal or informal, in person, on the phone or via Skype. The purpose of the interview is to ask questions in order to see if each party is suitable for the job, project or assignment at hand.
There are three stages of an interview:
3. Follow Up
Interviewing is a skill, it's like riding a bike. Practice makes you better not perfect but better each time. Interviewing is a two-way street. Employers are attempting to determine if you are a good fit for their culture and you are deciding if the environment is a good fit for you.
There are several types of Interviews:
Over the Phone
Panel or Group
Off-site (Meals, Coffee or Social Gathering)
The first thing you should do is prepare yourself for the interview. This is where research comes in to play. Research the Company, Position, Industry and yes even their Competitors.
Know yourself and be prepared to articulate your skills, strengths, accomplishments and weaknesses. You are the best person to tell your story so tell it how you want it to be known. Prepare necessary materials, resume, pen/paper, mints and lotion. Always ask for directions. Arrive on time, at least 15 minutes prior to the actual appointment time.
This is truly one of those cases where your First Impression is your Best Impression. Always, always be nice to the receptionist, front desk clerk or secretary. They are a vital vessel that keeps the company moving, they know everything and everybody – trust me.
Dress appropriately for the interview. If the recruiter did express the dress code always lean towards business casual. Please note business casual means something different for each company and can vary depending on industry and the location. Please do your research and find out what the companies dress code or standards are. Check the company’s website, LinkedIn and other social media platforms to see what the day to day office attire looks like. However, keep in mind, the people in those pictures have a job so their dress attire maybe more relaxed and you my dear are interviewing so dress it up accordingly. Remember you should dress for the position you want.
Grooming in everything.
Men, when in doubt a suit won’t rule you out. Always make sure you are well groomed with neatly trimmed nails, a nice leather belt, briefcase or folder and your shoes are not only clean but have a good shine/polish. Believe it or not your main accessory to be noticed is still your shoes and your watch so if you wear a watch make sure it works!
Women: Ladies, ladies, ladies I can’t express it enough when I say your interview is not the time for a fashion statement. There is no rule that says women have to wear a dress. It’s up to you to choose a dress, skirt or dress pants with a professional blouse. The most important thing is that you wear something that is appropriate and comfortable. You want to make sure it’s professional attire for the workplace; it fits well (not too tight on the top or bottom) and definitely not too flashy. When it comes to accessories to include your hair, nails, makeup and perfume - less is best!
Remember your body language say more about you then you think, so relax and smile. Maintain eye contact; give a firm but not aggressive handshake. Be cool, calm and collective this is not just about them, you are also interviewing the company to see if it's a good fit for you.
Do's and Don’ts
· Do your research.
· Who are they and whom do they serve?
·What does the company actually do?
·How long have they been in business?
·Where else are they located?
·Why are they in business?
·Why is the position open?
· Do your practice interview with a family or friend. Do several mock interviews with at least two different people. Practice makes you better if not perfect!
· Dress appropriately. When in doubt call the HR department and or Receptionist and ask about the dress code, then step your game up.
· Arrive on time. A rule of thumb is 15 minutes before your actual interview time. It’s definitely okay to arrive early, park and take notice of the surroundings.
· Be polite and courteous to all you encounter; you never know who opinion counts.
· Be aware of your body language. Lean forward, smile, acknowledge questions, maintain eye contact and be aware of any corky habits such has biting or picking at your nails.
· Be prepared to answering and ask questions. You should have at least 2 questions prepare to ask the interviewer such as:
Is this a new role/position or is it open due to a promotion?
What does the day-to-day responsibility of this role look like in the present climate?
What’s the biggest challenge you feel the person who accepts this position will have to address?
What has your experience been like working for the company?
Is there anything about my background, education or resume that makes you question whether I am the best fit for this role?
What are the next steps in the interview process?
Always send a thank you note.
Don’t underestimate the value of research.
Don’t arrive late.
Don’t under dress.
Don't use bad language or bad mouth your former employers.
Don’t check your phone, social media or Apple watch. Put your phone away – Period.
Don’t lie about your resume, skills or abilities.
Don’t cross your arms in disagreement.
Don't chew gum, bite your nails or slouch.
In general you should be prepared to talk about yourself and your experiences. Learn to master the art of storytelling by provide specific and concrete examples of your results/accomplishments. Remain positive, enthusiastic, poised, and confident throughout the interview process. I can’t stress it enough to be prepared to ask questions of your own:
What type of assignments can I expect within the first year?
What do you like most about this company?
What is the biggest challenge facing this department right now?
What skills are you looking for in this position?
What is the next course of action?
Remember an interview is a formal conversation--avoid filler words like “Um”, “Ah”, & “You know”.
Avoid indecisive phrases like: “I think,” “I guess,” “probably,” or “pretty good”.
Think before speaking.
Don't interrupt or over talk the interview.
Avoid long verbose answers--limit your response to 1-2 minutes.
If you do not hear or understand a question, ask them to repeat or clarify it for you.
Ask good questions.
Thank the interviewer.
Request a business card.
Send a thank you note within 24 hours. Letters/notes may be handwritten or typed; e-mail is also acceptable. If more than one person interviewed you send each person a individualized thank you note. Tailor each note, letter or email to the individuals question, connection, department or involvement in the process.
Next contact your references and kindly remind them they are listed and may be contacted as a personal and or business reference. Remember a reference can make or break your chances of getting a job offer. Give them a brief overview of the company/position so they are prepared to highlight your assets and qualities!
Extra, Extra read all about:
Employers now use social media as parts of their evaluation process so clean it up!
Good luck, you got this!