|Your time has finally come! You've been called for an interview. Now what? Don't sweat it! Prepare yourself to win. You know you're ready for the job, now you have to convince the employer!
Getting ready is a big part of your interview. You will likely, and you should, spend more time preparing yourself than you will in the interview. Preparing includes getting to know more about the company and the job, and being able to explain how and why you're the best person to hire. To help you study, be sure you have a Statement of Qualifications, or a basic job description. If you do not have one from when you first applied for the job, be sure to ask the person who is arranging your interview for a copy.
Preparing for the Interview... know the job, and the organization
When you wrote your résumé, you did some research about the company and the job. Review it now. Answer these questions in your research:
* What does the employer or company do?
* What's involved in the position you're applying for?
* What qualifications do you need for the position?
* What skills might the employer be looking for?
* Who are the customers or clients?
* What kind of reputation does the employer have?
You'll be more comfortable in the interview if you know a bit about the company and the position you're applying for.
Think Ahead - Pre-Planning is Essential
When you are called, confirm the interview time! Ask if there will be any test or written assignment you will be asked to do. Find out how many people will be there.
Plan and rehearse your answers to the questions you expect to be asked. Memorize the training, skills and experience you have, and be ready to answer questions on what you did, and how you did it.
Choose your clothes a day or two ahead, and make sure they're neat and clean.
Be on time. Find out ahead where you're going and how long it will take to get there. Drive or travel the route a day or two ahead, at the same time of day as you will on the day of the interview. Confirm how often the buses run. Have a back-up plan.
Set aside at least an hour for the interview.
Survive the Interview - and Win!
What to Wear to an Interview
What you wear can be as important as what you say. Make sure your clothes are neat, clean, and ironed, if they are meant to be! Don't turn up rumpled and untidy. Try to find out how people dress at the place you want to work, and dress the same or slightly better. Skip the perfume, cologne, or aftershave. You want to smell clean and nice, but not overpower the interviewer, or worse, upset someone with allergies.
What to Take to the Interview
Carry a folder or envelope containing:
* A copy of your résumé for each interviewer (This is why you asked ahead how many people would be present)
* Copies of your reference list
* Paper and a pen, so you can jot down the interviewer's name, the time of any future interview, or other information you might need later
* Copies of letters of recommendation, if you have any
You're On Your Way
You're at your job interview. Stay relaxed and make a good impression. Here are some suggestions to help you make sure this step of your journey gets off on the right foot.
* Greet the interviewer or panel members. Introduce yourself, and shake hands firmly, without crushing anyone's fingers. Smile. A sincere smile will help to put you, and the interviewer, at ease. Stand until you're invited to sit down.
* Let the employer or panel members take the lead and set the tone. Make eye contact, and answer the questions in a firm, clear, confident voice. Relax and sit naturally, but don't slouch in your chair or lean on the interviewer's desk. Be prepared to tell the interviewer more about your education, training and skills, work experience, and the personality traits that make you right for the job.
* It's okay to ask for more explanation if you don't understand a question. In fact, it's better to ask for clarification if you are unsure than to answer inappropriately. Keep a positive attitude.
* At some point in the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. This is where your research and preparation pays off. Have a couple of questions prepared that show you are interested and informed about the company, or ask for more detailed information about the position you're applying for.
Quick Tips for the interview
* Be on time. Five or ten minutes early is about right!
* Dress appropriately.
* Don't chew gum or smoke.
* Be neat, clean and well groomed.
* Never bring a friend to an interview.
* Don't discuss personal or financial problems.
* After the interview, don't linger. Smile, shake hands, thank the interviewer(s) for their time, and make a graceful exit.
Remember: You never get a second chance to make a first impression