Job interviews can be tricky, because they’re not something we do regularly. However, there are many things about a job interview that are easy to manage, provided you put in the time and effort to prepare yourself. You only get one chance at each open position, so make the most of it!
Use these tips to be prepared for your interview and expect success:
1. Dress appropriately. It’s far better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you have a friend or family member that works with the company, you can gain some insight into how you should dress. Otherwise, play it safe and wear your best.
2. Be on time. Strive be neither too late nor too early. Ten to fifteen minutes early is a good target. Many companies will automatically decide not to hire you if you’re late. Ensure that you give yourself enough time to arrive on time. Sit in your car around the corner if you arrive too early.
3. Know the company. What does the company produce or provide to its customers? How is the company doing? Is there any big news? Whom are its biggest competitors? How are the financials? What is the biggest challenge the company is facing? Understand the company culture.
4. Understand what your potential boss needs. What skills and qualities is your boss looking for? How can you present yourself as someone with those skills? Imagine what your future boss needs and strive to be that person during your interview.
5. Practice your interview skills. Interview skills are like any other skills: they require practice to develop fully. You can’t expect to be good at something if you only do it once every five years. Find a knowledgeable friend and a book of interview questions and get to work. Practice more than once!
6. Get a good night’s sleep. You’ll feel and look better if you get a full night of rest. Your brain will also function better.
7. Be prepared to discuss deficiencies on your resume. Why did you only last for six months at Harry’s Chicken Shack? Why weren’t you employed for most of 2016? Be prepared to explain yourself. How did you use your off time?
8. Know your weakness and how you’re managing it. Most interviews will ask a question related to “Tell me about a weakness of yours.” The key to handling this question is to explain how you’re overcoming it. You might say, “Well, I’m naturally not very organized, but I’ve developed a series of lists I use each day to ensure that I stay tidy and on track with my work.”
9. Have a few intelligent questions to ask. Know enough about the company that you can ask a question or two. Also, know enough about the position that you can ask a question related to it.
10. Remember to send a thank you note. Generally, email or snail mail is fine. Thank your interviewer for their time. There are plenty of examples online. Choose one that seems fitting, tailor it to your situation, and use it. Do so within 24 hours.
Make the most of your interview by preparing the best you can. Find a friend and practice your interview skills. You might even record video of yourself, so you can see how you come across. Be prepared for the most likely questions and ensure that you understand the company and the open position.
Leave nothing to chance. Practice, practice, practice.