Interviews are one of the most exciting and nerve-racking experiences you will go through. The best thing you can do to make your interview a success is to be prepared. There are various practices you can do to make the interview go more smoothly and leave you feeling confident about your performance.
If there is absolutely one thing you must do before an interview, it is research. Learn about the company, what they stand for, what their culture is like, and what products and services they provide. Find out what the company does outside of their work description such as involvement for the community or if they donate to different causes. The more you know about the company, the more you will be able to relate to the company and in return feel confident that it is company you would be proud to work for. Now, look over your job description; research your job description and truly understand what the company is searching for. While researching, be sure you are able to answer why you would be a good fit for the job and the specific qualifications you have to fit the position.
Practice Makes Perfect
Being able to answer any questions you will be asked is going to play the next big factor in your interview. Be sure to take time to think and develop quality answers to these questions: “Why do you want to work here?”, “What about the company and the job interests you?”, “What can you bring to the table/What can you teach us?”, and finally, “What are your strengths and your weaknesses?”. While crafting answers to these questions, practice your tone of voice, controlling your thoughts and how fast the words come out of your mouth while providing strong pronunciation of each word. Body language is also key. Sit up, lean forward, keep your hands in your lap, make good eye contact, and engage while listening, like nodding your head. Practice asking questions to the interviewer, this will show additional interest in the job. Some questions could be as simple as, “What does a typical day look like,” “Why do you enjoy working here,” or “What are some of the qualities of your most successful employee?”.
Take into consideration for exactly what your job title is being asked of you and modify your questions and the answers to the questions of being ask of you. Come up with several different answers to potential questions that would be asked and figure out which answer would best fit what the employer is asking of you.
Items to Bring and Prepare
When packing your portfolio, make sure to add multiple hard copies of your resume, cover letter, and any previous work to show to the interviewer(s). Pro Tip: keeping copies for yourself is a good idea to have during the interview so you can reference points or help clarify anything on the material. Plan your travel arrangements accordingly by saving the contact information of the company in your phone or by writing it down. Search where the company is prior to heading to the interview so you will have an idea of where you will be going. Know how long it is going to take you to arrive to the interview and leave fifteen minutes earlier than when you are supposed to arrive in case of traffic or any other delays that could happen.
Should time allow, you could begin to start a follow-up letter to send to the company after the interview. In the letter include what goals or conversation points that really intrigued you, add any additional information that you didn’t cover that would be good to show you will be an asset to the company, and be sure to thank them sincerely for the opportunity to work with them. Also add in if they have any questions that they can contact you, and that you are looking forward to hearing back from them soon.
You are essentially your very own salesperson during an interview. You have to show how you would be a good asset, someone they can trust, and somebody that they would be willing to invest in. Be confident in yourself and take pride in your journey of where you have been and how it has gotten you to where you are today – growth is an important achievement.
Recap: Be sure to do more research than what is needed – you can never be over-prepared; practice, practice, practice and then your interview will feel more like a natural conversation. Have your achievements, your certificates, your resumes, and any other paperwork to show them; keep their contact information and know where you are going before you are on your way to the interview; lastly, believe in yourself.
Best of luck in your next interview!
By Kendahl Schlueter