You know you’re a great candidate for this job, but to land the position you have to demonstrate to someone else that you’re the right person for it. The interview can be a stressful experience, especially for those new to the process or those re-entering the job search after many years at one company. Here’s how to show what you bring to the table and ace the interview.
Prepare for success
Practice, practice, practice! Have a friend or family member interview you. After each interview, real or staged, review some of the questions and whether you were happy with your answers. Maybe you needed more time to think or maybe nerves got your tongue. Here’s your chance to learn from past interviews and use them as springboard for your next one.
Anticipate some general topics, but don’t try to memorize or make up the perfect answer for every question ahead of time. Having a few ideas in mind can help you bring relevant experiences to the front of your memory and help you articulate answers more clearly. Some standard topics for interviews might include how you work with a team, how you deal with failure, how you handle risk and similar personality-type questions as relevant to the workplace. Goals and motivation are also hot topics.
Do your research on the company and prove your interest even if the job you’re interviewing for isn’t your dream job in the corner office. The company website can give you the most thorough and up-to-date information. Running a search on the company name can help you find recent news and show that you have genuine interest and enthusiasm for the position.
Dress for Success
Wear something appropriate yet comfortable. A go-to interview outfit that fits well and makes you feel confident eases performance anxiety. If you’re constantly readjusting your outfit, you can’t focus on making a good impression.
Ask the right questions
At the end of the interview, your interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions. Here’s your chance to show your interest as well as learn about the company from the representative’s perspective. Questions about the company such as core values, management style and work atmosphere are spot-on. The interview isn’t just a chance for the company to judge and accept or reject you. It’s a chance for you to become familiar with the company and consider if it will be a good fit for you as well.
A simple thank-you will suffice. Make it short but memorable as well as timely. Thank the interviewer for the opportunity and if possible bring up a specific detail about the conversation that will help your interviewer remember you. Restate why you would be a good fit and ask about the next step in the process if it wasn’t already made clear.
Think of the interviewing process as another rung on the career ladder; it’s not always easy, but it gives you an opportunity to learn, practice communication skills and keep moving forward.