Everyone has interviewed at some point in his life, it can be both an intimidating and exhilarating experience. However you view the interview process, the reality is that you need to understand and be prepared for this experience.
You are the Expert
The interview is all about you; you are the expert in this situation. Your job in the interview is to make sure the recruiter has enough information to make a yes decision at the end of the meeting. It is important to talk about your strengths and achievements throughout the interview. Try to make a strong case for the good fit between you and the job and you and the company/industry. Although it may appear that the interviewer has all the control in the interview, you must direct him toward the experiences and accomplishments that highlight your abilities and strengths.
The Key is Preparation
It is imperative to prepare yourself for this meeting, do not wing it!
Preparation is two fold. You must do a self-assessment of how your abilities and experiences match the job and also research the organization well.
Focus On You
Review your resume with the job you are interviewing for in mind.
- Identify all your achievements both from your work and education. Quantify when possible.
- Identify leadership roles, honors, internships, class projects and volunteer experience.
- Be prepared to answer the key question “Why do you want to work for this company and this industry?
- Practice (yes, this is necessary!) Role play the interview, have someone ask you questions.
Focus on Company Organization
- Get financial information and research new developments in the company. Some resources are: a company’s web page, annual report, Lexis/Nexis, research in the Wall Street Journal and business sections of major newspapers for key articles about a company.
- What niche does this company have in the market?
- Make a list of questions that could be a problem for you in the interview; rehearse how you will answer these.
- Non-verbal communication is important- check yourself. (For example, do you have a grin frozen on your face; can you keep good eye contact?) .
Basics of Interviewing
- Arrive early for the interview- get mentally prepared.
- You are interviewing the company, it is a two-way street.
- Be enthusiastic – you must show that you are interested in the job. This leaves a big impression on the interviewer.
- Dress to your advantage- conservative is best.
- If at all possible, do not discuss salary in the initial interview. This might be tempting, but you do not have enough information about the job.
- Be honest. Don’t invent situations/ facts that could catch up to you.
- Have at least 10-15 questions prepared to ask about the job/company.
- Always ask what the next step is in the interview process. For example, when will you be contacted about further interviews or their hiring decision? Or, when should you follow up with them?
- Follow up with a thank you letter, fax and/or E-mail. Have references ready.