How to Ace Your Interview
By Roxanne Ebbers
Whether you are fresh out of college on the prowl to land your first career or career searching for the first time in 20 years, it is always helpful to be prepared as can be for an interview. Interviews are set times set aside by the hiring manager to speak with potential candidates. Hiring managers are looking to answer two very basic questions. #1- Is this individual as good as they appear to be on paper? #2- Will this person’s personality fit in with my company and team? Taking the time to thoroughly prepare for an interview will give you the best leg up on your competition. It is your job to leave a good impression with a hiring manager. This can be done by conveying interest, preparedness, organization, professionalism, and setting yourself apart from the competition.
Before the Interview:
• Research the job and company.
• Gather as much information about the interview as you can- When, where, who, how long, etc.
• Print out and bring your resume, relevant documentation and paper and pen to take notes or write down questions.
• Prepare to answer basic interview questions ahead of time: Questions regards your relevant skills and education. Why you are looking to leave your current employer and why you leave previous employers (Do not make negative comments about current and former employers, employers, and companies). Strengths/ Weaknesses. What you bring to the table. What your ultimate career goal is or where you see yourself in X years. Recite being asked these typical questions and what your responses will be.
• Prepare questions for your interviewer ahead of time. Interviews are not only a hiring manager interviewing you, but also you interviewing a hiring manager to determine a best fit for you based on location, work hours, company culture, job scope, etc. Ask questions to ensure that you fully understand what it is that you are interviewing for.
During the Interview:
• Be punctual. Account for the unexpected on your drive and aim to arrive 15 minutes in advance.
• Dress appropriately and professionally.
• Relax, breath and be yourself!
• Be sure to listen to the question, ask for clarification if you're not sure what the interviewer is asking, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly when you respond. Take a few second to compose your thoughts if you need to before you answer.
• Ensure that your body language is appropriate. Smile, make eye contact, have good posture, do not fidget and have a strong handshake.
• Leave a great impression that sets you above your competition. Anytime someone tells me they made the hiring managers laugh, I always view that as a VERY good sign. If you think it is appropriate and see an opportunity for that, by all means go for it. It illustrates that you are comfortable under pressure, have a great attitude and you are differentiating yourself from your competition, by clearly sticking out in their mind when they reflect on their interviews at decision time. You would be surprised how having a great personality can compensate for lacking in other areas.
• Thank the interviewer for their time, and if you are interested in the position, be sure to reiterate this before the interview is concluded.
After the Interview:
• Construct thank you letters to send to each of the individuals that participated on your interview.