12 Things you should know before your Job Interview

June 04, 2015

When you are looking for a job, landing an interview it’s like a colossal success, but for most open jobs, the interview is just one step in a long and rigorous hiring process. You have only one chance to make a good first impression, so make the most out of it.

Follow these steps carefully and you will pass through the entire process with confidence. Some people don't interview frequently, so it's worth reminding yourself of the process.

1. Do your research before the Job Interview

The interviewer will want to see that you are informed about the company. Most of the time you will find sufficient information online (check the company’s website). Read about the company, understand the products or services that they provide and look for its mission statement. Think about how your experience and background could support the company’s objectives. You should also try to reveal what you know about the open position when answering questions.

2. Dress for your First Impression

When you enter into an interview first impression is very important to an employer. Take into consideration the type of job you are running after and dress to that occasion. The company's website can also help you decide how to dress for the interview. Research the workplace dress code and the company culture.

3. Create a Presentation

An interview is much like a marketing presentation. Providing a formal presentation of who you are and how you can contribute to the company success is an excellent way to find yourself next in line for the job. Include facts and numbers and put a little bit of character behind it. Treat the interviewer like a customer and find that balance where you are capable of presenting effectively and successfully.

4. Bring extra copies of your Resume

Always have extra copies of your resume in case the interviewer didn't get a copy or asks for it, or you are facing multiple interviewers. Show that you are organized and that you think ahead. You should also take copies of reference and portfolio if the interviewer has asked for them.

5. Be Unique

Remember that the point of the interview is to stand out amongst those who are selected. Also, keep in mind that most of the competition have similar skill set, so being unique in answering questions and presentation will help you stand out.

6. Be Honest

There is a big difference between using inspiring words to highlight your resume and putting false information in your resume. In the interview and beyond, you will be asked to back that information up. The employee - employer relationship is one that is built upon trust. There are honest ways to deal with employment gaps, lack of relevant experience, incomplete degrees or dismissals from previous jobs that will not damage your reputation and your chances of getting a new job.

7. Be Concise

Being incoherent is one of the most common interview mistakes. Instead of answering the question with what you think your interviewer wants to hear, answer the question directly and concisely. Close to the end of your response, it's important to hold the interviewer hooked by asking good questions.

8. Be ready with Questions

It would be a good idea to have the questions you want to ask memorized. However, it’s important that you do not ask questions that were previously addressed during the interview. Instead of feeling like you are going into an interrogation try taking a more effective role during the interview by asking a few questions to make sure the job is the right one for you. This will help you be completely dedicated during the interview process.

Here are a few must-ask questions:

  • What would be the first thing you would want a person in this role to accomplish?
  • What are the biggest tests that someone in this position would face?
  • Do you offer continuing education and professional training?
  • How does this position directly affect your company's goals?
  • Can you tell me about the team I will be working with?
  • Do you have concerns based on anything we have discussed?
  • What is the next step in the process?

9. Watch your Words

Your vocabulary reflects your level of education and talent, so using the right mix of words can take you a step further persuading the interviewer about your qualifications for that position. Keep your conversation relevant to the interview. What you say in an interview is important, but what you should not say may also be highlighted. Saying the wrong thing just makes it simple for the interviewer to dismiss your candidacy.

Here is a brief list of what not to say or ask in a job interview:

  • What kind of benefits package do you offer?
  • What does your company do?
  • How soon do you promote employees?
  • How much vacation time do I get?
  • Can I work at another job part time?
  • Can I get this call?
  • How did I do?
  • I didn’t like my boss.
  • It’s on my resume.
  • Sorry, I’m late.
  • I got fired from my last position.
  • I just want a job - any job!
  • I don't know.
  • I’m not sure if I’m qualified for this job, but…
  • I don't have any questions for you.

10. Sell Yourself

Instead of being concerned about all of the little things that can go wrong during an interview, you need to start focusing on yourself. It's your job to sell yourself as the right candidate. Always remember to prove your knowledge in any way you can. Allocate time developing a list of accomplishments, describing the most important first. Be specific and quantified them.

11. Have Good Body Language

A good position will show the interviewer that you are professional and confident. Although you probably are nervous during the interview, try your best not to show it to the interviewer. It’s like a sign of weakness. Interviewers want somebody who is confident but not vain. Always maintain strong eye contact during the entire interview. Smiling can really help you because it can make you seem more likable.

12. Close the Deal

Interviewers are busy people that are taking time out of their day to meet with you. Because of this, it would be polite to thank them at the end of the interview. Show excitement about the position and gratitude for the opportunity to be interviewed. Ask about next steps and when you will hear from them regarding a decision. Ask if they would mind if you followed up. If you don't hear back, you will need to know who to contact and whether they will accept calls to check the status of the selection process. Close the interview with professionalism and a firm handshake. Confidence goes a long way, and the end of the interview is the final chance you have to make a great impression.

Good luck getting the job you want!

About the author
Michelle D

This article was contributed by Michelle D. She is a casual writer, exceptional manager, mother of a ridiculous amazing child, and a great person to have coffee with.

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