Interview preparation should start long before you shake hands with a potential employer. Nothing is more impressive to an interviewer than a candidate who is well composed and well informed. As soon as you have scheduled an interview you should start preparing. Here are some helpful tips that will help make sure you’re ready:
- It’s important to have a decent understanding of the company’s history. Resources to utilize could be the Web, local libraries, the company’s marketing materials, or annual reports.
- Study your own credentials so you can to demonstrate how your past experience can benefit their company.
- Some typical questions an interviewer might ask you include:
- Tell me about yourself/ What are your hobbies?
- What are your strengths/ What are your weaknesses?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- What are your goals?
- Why did you choose your particular major/ career choice?
- How do you deal with pressure?
- Do you work well with a team?
- What can you bring to this company?
- What is the most challenging thing you have ever done?
- Give an example of a time when…?
- How you tackled a work problem
- A position of leadership you have had
- Dress for success—it is generally a good idea to overdress for interviews even if you know the company has a casual atmosphere.
- Write a few questions of your own regarding the company or the position
During the Interview
- Plan on being early for an interview – you never know what sort of transit problems you might have.
- Be confident!
- Eye contact is important throughout the interview because it conveys a sense of sincerity and honesty.
- Remember that every interview is an opportunity. You will likely make a better impression if you go into the interview with a positive state of mind.
- Be sure to ask questions and be discerning of the potential employer throughout your discussion. The list of questions you ask a potential employer should be as much about you interviewing them, as them interviewing you. These questions should help you get a sense if the job and the company will be a good fit for you.
- During the course of the interview, try to be a good judge of your examiner’s personality. You can use the employer’s responses and body language to tailor your own responses so they align more with what the interviewer wants to hear.
- Do not be intimidated by difficult questions. He or she may inquire about your personal feelings toward your last employer or what your weaknesses are. If an interviewer asks what your weaknesses are, give them something you can put a positive spin on (i.e., taking your work too seriously, being a perfectionist, and needing to see projects through to their completion). The important thing is to be as courteous and positive as possible when you reply.
- Be Honest
End Interview/ Post Interview
- Make sure you have had an opportunity to ask all the questions you wanted to. In addition, it is a good idea to ask whether the interviewer has covered everything they needed to.
- If you are genuinely interested in a job, tell them so! Also, do not forget to reassure the interviewer that you look forward to hearing from them soon.
- Follow up the interview with a phone call or letter thanking them for the opportunity. This will reinforce the idea that you are interested, confirm what a good-natured person you are, and keep your name in front of the decision-makers.
Types of Interviews
There are several different types of interviews that an employer may conduct (behavioral, case, personal, or situational), and often elements of each are incorporated into a single session. You can increase the chances of having a successful interview by identifying what kind of question you are being asked and responding appropriately.
Your storytelling skills come into play when asked a behavioral question. Here you will need to demonstrate how past experiences have contributed to your character, and in the process reveal some attribute of yourself that the employer is looking for. For example, you might be asked to describe how you have used your teamwork abilities to meet a challenge.
A case interview looks ahead with hypothetical questions. How would you react in a given situation? What steps would you take to achieve your desired result? An employer is not likely to have a predetermined answer he/she would like to hear in this case, but rather is hoping to learn about your decision making process.
True to its name, in this situation an interviewer is just trying to understand more about the “real” you, rather than the “professional” you. It may involve questions about what you are looking for in a career, but will more likely focus on your hobbies and interests. By nature, a personal interview is not so rigid, so think of it as a casual conversation with an old classmate.
In this type of interview a candidate is asked specific questions about what may happen on a job. The candidate is asked to assess a situation and to provide solutions on how he or she would handle it. If you were applying for a sales position, this might involve the interviewer acting as a customer and you attempting to sell them some product. There is high pressure to perform on the spot, but the interviewer is aware that you could not possibly prepare for this. Consider the interview a successful one if you do not become too bewildered, and if you are able to show even a hint of your ability.