As you prepare for your job interview, how can you set yourself apart from the competition? Your interview is your first face-to-face meeting with your prospective employer and a critical opportunity for both parties to determine whether there will be a good professional, business and cultural fit.
Your plans for interviewing success should begin long before the big day arrives. It’s like preparing for your stage debut or a big playoff game: You need to define your strategy, practice, learn your lines, know who you’re facing, and dress the part.
Do Your Homework
Learn all you can about the employer and your interviewers. This not only enhances your knowledge and confidence, but also demonstrates your sincere interest in the company.
- Conduct a Google search and comb through the organization’s website. Bring yourself up to speed on the business and industry, as well as relevant developments, technology and news events. Google your interviewers as well. Learn their names and something about their backgrounds. This shows personal courtesy and respect.
- Check out your online presence. Just as you are researching the organization, be aware that they may be researching you as well. Google yourself, and make sure that your social media sites, such as Facebook, twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc., portray a positive image of you and don’t cost you an opportunity!
- Reach out to your connections and contacts. Get the perceptions and thoughts of one or more “insiders” who know the company and its culture. Your LinkedIn network is a great place to start.
Practice and Prepare
Rehearse possible interview questions ahead of time and be sure you’re ready, right down to the final shine on your shoes and smile on your face.
- Run through the scenario in front of a mirror or, better yet, with a trusted friend. Remember to act confident, speak clearly and not ramble. Keep your responses short and to the point. If necessary, stop and take a breath before you answer. Practice makes perfect, so keep doing it until you get it right.
- Remember your non-verbal communication. Your body language and tone of voice should support your responses. This adds credibility and poise to your overall presentation.
- Dress appropriately. If you can, find out about company dress code, then take it up just a notch. For instance, if it’s a casual manufacturing atmosphere, wear something conservative or “business casual.” If it’s a more formal atmosphere, opt for a suit and tie or similar attire for women.
It’s Show Time!
Arrive at your interview site as relaxed and confident as possible. Remember, you’re evaluating them just as much as they’re interviewing you. And you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t a strong contender.
- Be there 15 minutes early. If possible, drive by the day before so you can time your arrival accordingly. You need to park, find the right entrance and check in … and it’s ideal to have at least five minutes to sit and gather your composure.
- Greet everyone you meet in a professional, courteous manner. This starts the moment you cross onto company property, whether it’s the parking attendant, security guard, receptionist or janitor. Word spreads like wildfire within the walls of a business and you never know who may be talking to whom.
- Smile and use a firm handshake. Maintain this friendly, assertive attitude throughout your time on the premises. Remember, you’re marketing a product – yourself – and your customers are the persons you’re meeting today.
Check out the Candidate Resource Center provided by the team at Contemporary Personnel Staffing & Professionals Incorporated for additional guidance as you take the next step on your successful career path.