The interview is the most important part of the job application. While it gives you a chance to shine, it also gives the interviewer insights into you, your work ethic, and how well you would fit with other co-workers.
Whether you are preparing for your first interview or your tenth, here are some helpful tips to set you on the course to a successful job interview.
1. Look your best.
When you walk into the room, one of the first things an interviewer notes is how you dress. While it may seem simple, dressing appropriately and in a professional manner tells the interviewer that you understand the importance of the interview, are prepared to work in a professional environment, and that you are generally put together. Hair neatly arranged, appropriate attire, and nice dress shoes will make a good first impression. For the gentlemen, a suit is always a good choice. For the ladies, however, a nice skirt and blouse is just as appropriate, though more casual, as a pants suit.
2. Bring your resume and cover letter with you.
Even though the interviewer will most likely have a copy of both, having your resume and cover letter with you shows that you are prepared. If you have a nice portfolio or file holder, place your cover letter and resume in it to ensure they stay nice and clean on the way to the interview. Having something hold in your lap will also help you avoid any fidgeting habits.
3. Practice answering questions.
One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to practice answering questions. You can role play with a friend. As a rule of thumb, you should not answer with just “yes” or “no” or with one sentence. Aim for two to three sentences, elaborating enough to show your conversational skills, but not too much that you dominate the interview.
To get you started, here are some some questions that might come up in an interview:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Do you work well with a team?
- I noticed that you did (fill in with appropriate activity), can you tell me about that?
- Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?
- Can you describe to me one time that you failed? How did you overcome it?
- How do you feel about making decisions about (fill in a job criteria)?
- Do you have any questions for me?
4. Scope out the office area and make sure you know where you are going.
Again, this may sound simple, but a smooth arrival will make you feel more confident and poised. Showing up five minutes before an interview is not good practice. Instead, try to arrive fifteen minutes early. If you have never been to the office before, make sure you know where you are going, where to park, and where the front desk is located.
Now it is your turn, go out and have a great interview!
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