Interview Basics

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    Being offered an interview means that you are a serious contender for the position, so it is essential that you take this opportunity to market yourself and set yourself apart from every other applicant by demonstrating why you are the best candidate for the position.

    Interview Basics

    Having an effective resume that is well presented, concise, career focused, and formatted for the applicant tracking system, in addition to a structured approach to your job search will get you noticed by prospective employers. Being offered an interview means that you are a serious contender for the position, so it is essential that you take this opportunity to market yourself and set yourself apart from every other applicant by demonstrating why you are the best candidate for the position.

    Doing your homework before meeting with a prospective employer is fundamental to the recruitment process. Whether you are interested in a new position, a new career, promotion or advancement, successful interviewing requires preparation.

    Interviewing is a skill that is developed through practice. For example, informational interviewing despite having full time employment has served me well as it has allowed me to stay current with what is happening in the marketplace and has also helped me to develop valuable interviewing skills such as nonverbal communication and how I come across to the interviewer. Frequent interviewing has helped me to develop a cohesive story of my accomplishments and goals which I can easily tie into the needs of prospective employers.

    PRIOR TO THE INTERVIEW:


    It is important to gather detailed information about where and who you will be meeting with. Obtain directions and the names of the individuals that you will be interviewing with. This will allow you to research these individuals prior to the interview and also give you an idea of how many copies of your resume are needed. It is best to take a few additional copies in the event that you end up meeting with a panel or collaborating managers. Place your resumes in a plain black folder to avoid wrinkling or coffee spills. Note: An initial phone screen interview should be taken as seriously as a formal interview, this it what will land you the formal interview! The phone screen should be conducted in a quiet environment.

    Researching the organization prior to the interview is essential. Visit the organization’s website to obtain basic background information, their mission statement, and a full job description. Read company reviews and utilize average salary tools on job websites such as Glassdoor.

    Prepare for at least five questions that may be asked by the interviewer. For example, where do you see yourself in three years, or describe a difficult situation where there was conflict and how you resolved this. Prepare at least three questions to ask during the interview. For example, what is the on boarding process for new employees in this department, or what do you like best about working for this company.

    Dress for success. A polished look even in a casual setting goes a long way. A basic suit or pants and blouse, dark colors such as navy, black, or grey are classic and professional. The interview is not the time to make a fashion statement. It is best to avoid bold colors, graphic prints, bangle jewelry, flashy nail polish, open toe shoes, or short hemlines. This is true in any professional setting after the interview as well. Even in casual environments, you will be taken more seriously as a seasoned professional and likely to advance if you dress the part.

    Arrive to the interview early in the event there is additional paperwork to fill out. Have a pen handy. Exemplify confidence and enthusiasm for the job. Make eye contact, actively listen, be aware of your nonverbal communication, and smile! Engage and ask questions when appropriate, the interview is also an opportunity to verify that the company is a good fit for you as well. Avoid questions that relate to compensation or benefits, this is more appropriate once a position is offered. At the conclusion of the interview, ask what to expect next if a position was to be offered and request contact information from your interviewer in the event additional questions arise, this can also be used for follow up after the interview.

    AFTER THE INTERVIEW:


    Do not forget to follow-up with the interviewer after the interview to show appreciation for the opportunity and also to show continued interest. In my experience, it is also beneficial to email the human resources recruiter to inform that the interview was completed, there is still an interest in the position, and to provide the best contact information in the event a position is offered. If after two weeks there is no response, follow-up again with the recruiter only. Note: Read and spellcheck all email prior to hitting send. The worst way to ruin a great interview is with an email that contains errors!
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