How to Walk in Confident and Prepared for Your Interview
Before the Interview
- Make sure you know the correct date, time and location of the interview. Now, double-check it! Prepare your route to arrive 15 minutes early (account for traffic during this time of day). Hiring managers expect this 15-minute early arrival from top candidates.
- Research the company. Start with its website and get to know its products and/or services, awards, reputation, size and location. Visiting social media pages will give you a look at how they talk about themselves and what topics are important. Be able to talk about what you’ve learned about the company during your interview.
- Wear a business suit, unless the recruiter tells you otherwise. Dress to impress, polish your shoes, go easy on any scents like aftershave or perfume.
- Prepare (ahead of time) 1-2 questions about the organization to show your interest in the opportunity. Bring extra copies of your resume and work samples (i.e., a training manual you developed) that pertain to the job.
- Feeling nervous? Practice with a friend or family member who will give you honest feedback. You can also rehearse your answers in front of a mirror.
- Turn off your phone before you walk into the building and put it away.
During the Interview
- Promote yourself as the best candidate for the job by highlighting your experience, accomplishments and desire to grow.
- Site specific, recent examples to support answers to the interviewer’s questions.
- Make eye contact when speaking and listening.
- Remember the interviewer’s name and use it a couple times during the interview.
- Present your credentials with positivity. You should be honest about shortcomings but maintain focus on your strengths.
After the Interview
- Be sensitive to cues that the interview is over, but don’t leave before expressing your interest and enthusiasm about the organization and the opportunity.
- Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration before you leave. Ask about the next steps in the process and follow through on your part right away.
- Write thank you messages after your interview and send them promptly. Express your interest in the position, mention something you discussed during the interview, and thank them for their time.
- Don’t fail to show up, cancel that day or arrive late for an interview — for any reason. If a real emergency arises, call the interviewer and your recruiter right away.
- Don’t forget to switch off your phone before the interview.
- Don’t begin the interview with any negative remarks, like “it took forever to get here” or “it’s really stuffy in here.”
- Don’t over-explain or defend your shortcomings. You’ll sound like you’re making excuses. Everyone has weaknesses. Accept them and focus on your strengths.
- Don’t be or sound uncertain, unfocused, or scattered about your career preferences. No, you won’t just “take anything” — even if you are in desperate need of a job.
- Don’t sell yourself short. Brag. Don’t leave the room without the interviewer(s) knowing the skills and talents you bring to the table.
- Don’t bring up salary unless the interviewer does.
- Don’t stick to yes/no answers. Elaborate when possible. Vague answers will end the interview quickly.
- Don’t chew gum or smoke.
- Don’t use obscenities or too much slang.
- Don’t disparage employers, employees, professors or anyone else for that matter. Positivity, especially when it comes to other humans, is a better stance.
- Don’t turn hostile, annoyed or angry if the interview doesn’t go well — for whatever reason. Maintain a professional manner.
- Don’t do a phone interview while driving or multi-tasking in any way. It’s rude to the interviewer, diminishes your ability to focus, and can be dangerous.
- Don’t expect to be hired on the spot. It rarely happens.
- Don’t expect instant success. For many reasons, some candidates go on many interviews before they get the right match.
Common Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer
- Why should our company hire you? What could you bring to our company?
- What would colleagues in your current company say about you, right now? What would they miss about you?
- Name the three most important qualities you’re looking for in a new job.
- Why are you looking for a new opportunity right now?
- Where do you see your career going? (Think 3, 5, 10 years down the road.)
- Describe your most significant contribution to a project or company goal.
- Tell me about an unexpected problem you’ve confronted, how you tried to solve it, and explain the outcome.
- Have you ever set a long-term goal (professional or otherwise)? What was/is it and how have you set yourself up to work toward and achieve it?
- Discuss a time you worked to create or improve a product or service.
- What’s your approach to organizing your workday?
- What is one of your weaknesses?
- Tell me about how you would maintain a congenial relationship with a colleague whose opinions differed from yours.
- Why do you want this job?
Questions You Can Ask During the Interview
- Describe your training program. Where is it located and how long is it?
- How are employees reviewed, given feedback and promoted?
- What do the first 90 days look like? What expectations do you have for new hires?
- What characteristics does a successful person possess in this organization?
- How much travel is normally expected?
- Can I see the place I would be working if I were hired?
- For whom and with whom would I be working?
- How much supervision would I receive as a new hire?
- Why is this position open?
- What does the company’s future look like? Is it growing, moving, changing?
- What is the next step in the interview process?