What part of the interview process are you in? Are you in the first round? Final round? How many people are you competing against? Are you actually competing against these people or are there multiple spots to be filled? These are all questions you should know before going into your interview.
First things first, do your homework. The first time you talk with an employee of a company you are interested in you should have a basic knowledge of what the company does, current points of interest, especially if the company has been in the news, and some basic information on the person with whom you are speaking, even if it is an informational interview.
When the day comes for your interview, you should be wearing business professional clothing. Based on your research of the company, you will know how professional to dress. Companies typically have different social media plug-ins which applicants can review to see the culture of the company.
As you arrive ten minutes early to your interview, go over your elevator speech before getting out of your mode of transportation. This will give you a boost of confidence as you walk to the front desk.
If you have to wait before being called in for your interview, keep in mind that you are still being observed. Therefore, do not do anything that you would not do directly in front of the interviewer. This includes scrolling/talking on your phone or eating/chewing gum. Consider looking over the notes you took on the company or the questions that you have for the interviewer that you have written down.
Upon meeting your interviewer, shake their hand firmly for two seconds. When you make eye contact, smile. You will not get another chance to make a first impression with this person, so make it a good one! Introduce yourself and carry on polite conversation until they are ready to start the interview.
In the interviewing room, after being offered a chair, you should be aware of your posture, have your feet flat on the floor, and have little to no nervous movement. You should have a pen and paper with you, along with multiple copies of an updated resume and any other relevant material. You should offer the resume to your interviewer for them to review. Be mindful not to place anything of yours on the interviewer’s desk unless they offer.
Depending on the interview, whether behavioral, case study, or technical, you will need to be prepared in different ways. If you are in a behavioral interview, you should prepare for questions that are about you, your experiences, and your reactions to different situations. The STAR method is an excellent method that can be used in this type of interview. A case study interview may be a group or individual event. Make sure you clarify with your interviewer prior to your interview, and practice different case studies that focus on the industry you are going into. Technical interviews imply that you have a certain skill set and the interviewer will want to know the depth of your understanding about the program/system/etc. Everyone should prepare for the question, “tell me about yourself.” This question can be answered by what is known as your elevator speech. More on that to come soon.
Keep in mind that it is acceptable to write things down during the interview and to take a couple moments before you answer questions. Pausing before you answer a question gives you time to regroup and form a coherent response.
After the interviewer asks their questions, if there is time, you should be able to engage in post-interview questions. These are questions that you will prepare prior to your interview. Think of questions that you truly will need to know before you would accept a position with the company. Do not forget to ask for the interviewer’s business card before wrapping up the interview.
Stay professional from the moment you shake the interviewer’s hand in exiting until you get to your mode of transportation. You never know how long someone may be observing you. The applicant pool for many positions is sometimes very large and any excuse is enough to cross someone off of the list.
Do not forget to follow up within 24 hours with the interviewer to say thank you.
You can visit Shannon Talent for more information on how to improve your interview skills.