Researching companies you would enjoy working for, updating your resume, filling out online applications and getting yourself on the radar of hiring managers is behind you now, and the next leg of your journey towards meaningful employment is ahead. Interviewing can be a stressful experience for some, but it is perhaps the most important interaction standing between you and the job you want. Ready to have a successful job interview? What is the best way to prepare for an interview? How can you put your best foot forward in a job interview and get the job you want? These 10 Interview tips will help before, during and after your job interview.
- BEFORE: Educate yourself on the company you are interviewing with, and stay current
This can be especially hard when you are interviewing with multiple companies, but a prepared interviewee will do the leg work to know as much about a company as possible. These days, the Internet makes that fairly easy. Companies publish quarterly reports and blog posts on their website and supplementary sites like Glassdoor give you some insight into the workplace culture of a company. To stay current, set up a Google alert to follow a company’s activities in the media, and you’ll be in a prime position to dazzle a hiring manager with your knowledge of the company you’re interviewing with.
- BEFORE: Clean up your social media accounts
It is estimated that as many as 91% of employers search your social media accounts for red flags. What you consider normal pictures and statements about your life may give pauses to employers. Deleting profanity and pictures of last weekend’s party are probably no-brainers, but what about tell-tale red solo cups and cigarette lighters you may not detect? Apps such as Social Sweepster can sweep through your social media accounts and identify “suspicious” content for you to clean up.
- BEFORE: Prepare your interview questions
Stepping into an interview without a solid list of questions you’ll ask is like forgetting your gear on a scuba expedition – the outcome is sure to be dire. Give yourself a fighting chance by preparing questions to ask a hiring manager which will both demonstrate your interest and ability to think critically, and help you learn whether a position is really a good fit for you and your career.
- BEFORE: Prepare your answer to this question, and rehearse it
“Walk me through your resume and tell me a little about yourself,” is a common interview opener. You know you’ll be asked some variation of this question, so why leave your answer to chance? Instead of being surprised that you need to provide an answer, come up with a personal summary statement that is positive, forward-thinking, and includes teasers about the additional topics an interviewer will be enticed to pursue with you.
- DURING: Avoid speaking negatively of past positions and employers
Even if your last job and your last boss were the worst part of your life and sent you into major depression, avoid saying anything negative about either in an interview. Speaking ill of past employers and jobs is a red flag to hiring managers that you might be “one of those” employees who is focused on problems, not solutions. Avoid saying, “I left my last job because my boss had it out for me,” and instead turn things around to a more positive light, such as, “I learned so much from my boss and my last job, and this positioned me to be ready for new opportunities.”
- DURING: Think aloud on analytical questions
Many interview questions are designed to demonstrate how you think, not whether or not you arrived at the “right” answer. Avoid answering these types of questions after a two-minute pause where you stare at your shoes and think. Instead, continue talking as you walk the interviewer through the thought process you’re presently going through to arrive at a conclusion.
- DURING: Relax
Sure, a job interview is stressful and you’ve placed a lot of expectation on a positive outcome. But relax, will you? Avoid fidgeting and nervous body language gestures. Instead, imagine yourself settling in for a cup of coffee with a new friend, and be present in the conversation and back-and-forth exchange of information. Sitting like a murder suspect in an interrogation room without your lawyer by answering questions quickly, briefly, and without elaborating because you’re nervous makes an impersonal statement about you. Rather, engage in information sharing, be open, and speak like you have something positive to share, not something to hide.
- DURING: Demonstrate your listening skills
Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your listening skills by helping to direct the interview conversation. Instead of taking questions as they are thrown at you, answer a question and then tag on one of your own. For example, “I hope that helps illustrate my experience. When you stated this position will do X, Y, and Z, how do you see my skills making me a good fit to be a success at this?” This contributes to a relaxed, conversational exchange of information, and helps you appear approachable and engaging.
- DURING: Ask the hard question
When you leave an interview, there is one way you can know without question how things went. Instead of guessing, ask. Ask your interviewer at the end, “What concerns do you have about my ability to be wildly successful in this position?” The answer will either be, “I have no concerns,” and by that you will know you interviewed well, or, an interviewer will share their concerns and you’ll know whether any of those concerns are probable deal-breakers.
- AFTER: Email a personalized note
Within 24 hours of your interview, email a note to those you interviewed with to thank them for their time, and end by asking if there are any additional questions you can answer. Not only is this polite etiquette, it also opens the door for additional dialogue.
Interviews don’t have to be stressful, but they are an important part of the hiring process and should be treated as such. Take the time to prepare, practice, and ready yourself for this pivotal experience.
Robert Moment is an interview coach,speaker and author of Interview Tips:Proven Job Interview Tips, Interview Questions and Interview Skills to Get Hired in Job Interviews for the Job You Want.. Robert specializes in how to interview tips and skills, helping professionals maximize their knowledge, skills and abilities to get hired,promoted and paid more in job interview opportunities. Robert tell professionals why they aren’t getting hired for jobs and teach them, how to get hired, how to sell themselves , stand out from the competition and negotiate the best salary for themselves.