Interview Tip #1: Take Care of Your Personal Appearance
- Be well groomed. Clean hair and fingernails are essential.
- Dress properly. Your clothing should be appropriate for the position you are seeking.
- Wear comfortable business attire.
- Abstain from chewing gum or smoking.
- Do not wear perfume, cologne, or other strong scents. Some interviewers may have a sensitive nose.
Interview Tip #2: Be Yourself
- Relax and try to enjoy the interview. If you are not yourself, it will show.
- If the interviewer feels that you are comfortable, this will ease the tension… for the both of you.
- Try not to be too “scripted” and remember to adapt to the conversation.
Interview Tip #3: Be Prepared
- Make sure you understand the process. Different employers may have different hiring practices.
- Find out as much as you can about the position, the organization, and the industry.
- Try to inquire about the name of the interviewer beforehand and research on his or her background.
- Talk to colleagues and friends who are connected to the employer.
Interview Tip #4: Know Yourself
- Know your strengths and weaknesses.
- Understand what your strengths and skills are and how best to highlight them through examples.
Interview Tip #5: Know the Position
- Know the qualifications and requirements of the job and be prepared to show why you are the best fit for the position.
Interview Tip #6: Research Your Employer
- Identify your employer’s practice areas, culture, size, corporate philosophy, opportunities for growth, etc.
Interview Tip #7: Know Your Resume and Cover Letter Inside Out
- Review your career history thoroughly. Review dates, positions, responsibilities, and accomplishments.
- Mentally review your past achievements and be prepared to describe your work experience in detail. Practice describing your experience in terms of your responsibilities and accomplishments at each job.
- Be prepared to cite specific examples of accomplishments and how your contribution can help the company solve its problems.
Interview Tip #8: Understand Your Goals and Objectives
- Before attending the interview, decide what you want to get out of the meeting, what you want the interviewer(s) to notice, etc.
- Think of why you are interested in the position and articulate your reasons.
- Do not be afraid to ask tough questions or raise any issues of concern.
Interview Tip #9: Be Punctual
- Do whatever it takes to arrive a few minutes early. If necessary, drive to the company the night before and time yourself. Allow extra time for traffic, parking, and slow elevators.
Interview Tip #10: Be Friendly and Courteous
- Be friendly and courteous to all the people you meet. Try to fit in.
- Receptionists and others are sometimes asked for their opinions of you. Do not disregard them.
- Be tentative to body language. Send the right message by standing straight, moving confidently, and sitting slightly forward in your chair.
- The outcome of the interview will depend largely on the impression you make during the first five minutes. To succeed, you must project a professional, competent, and enthusiastic image.
- Remember that 85% of the verbal content of the interview will probably be forgotten within an hour of your departure. What remains is the overall impression and a few notes.
Interview Tip #11: Be Adaptive
- Be sensitive to the style of the interviewer. Pay attention to dress codes, office furniture, and general decor which will afford helpful clues to assist you in tailoring your presentation.
Interview Tip #12: Have Your Own Agenda and Know Where the Interview Should Be Heading
- Having your own plan will give you confidence and help you move from one area of questioning to the next. Remember that most interviewers are as uncomfortable as you are. If you can put the interviewer at ease by helping things move smoothly, you’ll improve your chances of being hired.
- Have some degree of control over the interview by asking questions.
Interview Tip #13: Answer Questions Properly
- Listen carefully and respond succinctly.
- Use good grammar and articulate your thoughts clearly. If this is an area where you’re weak, work on it. Practice on your family, practice in front of a mirror, record your voice, take classes – do whatever it takes to become a more effective communicator.
- Don’t worry about pausing before you answer. It shows you can think and are not spitting out pre-made statements.
- Try to relate your answers to the interviewer and his or her company. Focus on achievements relevant to the position.
- Early in the meeting, try to get the interviewer to describe the job and the duties to you so you can focus your responses.
- Listen carefully and ask questions to probe deeper into what the interviewer wants to get at.
- Never answer a question you don’t understand with a knee-jerk response. Always seek clarification before answering. If you don’t know an answer, it’s much better to admit this than guess.
- In answering and asking questions, you want to demonstrate that you are:
- Willing to work. Give examples of your productivity on past jobs.
- Committed to learning. Demonstrate this through examples of learning experiences (independent study, professional development, education, workshops, etc.). Your plan for future development also communicates your commitment to learning.
- Flexible. Talk about how well you work with others and how you can adjust and fit into a new environment without complaints or special requests.
- Willing to contribute. Emphasize what you can do for the company.
Interview Tip #14: Be Prepared to Share
- You may be asked to share past experiences with the interviewer. For example, you may be asked to describe a situation in which you applied your knowledge to overcome obstacles or problems.
- Ideally, you should briefly describe the situation you found yourself in, summarize the actions that you took, and state the outcome based on your actions.
Interview Tip #15: Be Prepared to Answer Unexpected Questions
- That’s designed to see how quick you can think on your feet.
Interview Tip #16: Avoid Making Negative Statements about Previous Jobs or Employers
- Be diplomatic. No matter how bad your last job or boss was, there’s probably something good you learned from the experience. Emphasize the positive… with a smile.
Interview Tip #17: Leave a Lasting Impression
- Maintain your enthusiasm right through to the end. Don’t let your guards down. Smile, shake hands firmly, and be sure to thank your interviewer for his or her time. Don’t hesitate to say, “I hope we’ll have the opportunity to work together in the future.”
Interview Tip #18: Be Confident
- Talk about your strengths and abilities with pride, but don’t be cocky or conceited. Make eye contact. Let them know you can do a good job.
Interview Tip #19: Visualize the Interview
Interview Tip #20: Practice
- Simulate interviews with friends and family. Practice on questions you think might be asked. Practice will help you calm down during the interview.
- Plan out the answers to expected questions. Write down answers if it can help make your presentation more concise. Try to keep your answers to the information your new employer will want to know.
Interview Tip #21: Create a List of Questions You Want to Ask Beforehand
- Think of one or two questions that are really important to you and consider asking those same questions for all your interviews so you can have a basis for comparison.
- Do not ask questions that are already answered on the firm’s website. Employers are as interested in your questions as they are in your answers. They will react favorably if you ask relevant questions about the position, the company, and the industry.
Interview Tip #22: Ask Interviewers for Their Business Cards
Interview Tip #23: Always Let the Interviewer Initiate the Close of the Job Interview
- Try to detect signs that the interview may be coming to an end so you can finish your interview strong.
Interview Tip #24: Evaluate Your Interview Once You Are Done
- Evaluate yourself. Learn from any mistakes you made and make a conscious effort not to repeat them in the future.
- Write down as many details as you can remember about the interview.
- Note the date by which the interviewer stated he or she would call you back.
- Note whether you were on time.
- Analyze what you did well and what you could have done better. To be objective, take the employer’s perspective.
- Note whether you did adequate research.
- Note the questions that made you feel uncomfortable.
- Note your body posture, mannerisms, and non-verbal communication.
- Note whether you stuck to the main facts.
- Note whether you were able to cover all relevant information.
- Note how you feel about the company and the position.
- Note whether you could have done better, what you think you handled well, and what you did not do so well.
- Note whether there were any surprises during the job interview process.
by John Sylo