You meticulously checked your resume for spelling and grammatical errors, you detailed the skills and experiences that directly pertain to the position you’re after and you’ve sent it in and, after waiting patiently, received the notification that you scored an interview. Great! You made the short list and now it’s time to showcase your personality, drive and skills that give you an edge over the other candidates. Interviewing is an art, and only the best artists will win. Make sure you’re ready for an interview.
Research is Key
You should have researched the company while tweaking your resume and writing your cover letter, but now is the time to really research the company you’re interviewing with — and they’re competitors.
You’re selling yourself during the interview, particularly your skills and what you bring to the table. Know the company’s history, their strengths and weaknesses and what their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are. Be prepared to offer up which of your skills and experiences are going to strengthen the company’s weaknesses and solidify their strengths even more.
What to Expect
Certain questions are standard during the interview process, whether it’s for a bartending position or an executive sales position.
- Tell me about yourself.
○ Keep it job-related, at least in some fashion. Your answer should be personal, but only to a limited extent. This is your opportunity to bring real-life skills or experiences to the table.
- What do you know about this company?
○ Your research will pay off here and it’s a prime opportunity to relay your dedicated research to the interviewer.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
○ Be honest, but put a positive spin on your weaknesses by offering what you do to try and correct them. As for your strengths, offer those that are relevant in the form of skills.
- Why did you leave your last job?
○ Again, be honest, but don’t offer negativity. Your interviewer does not want to hear that you didn’t get along with your last supervisor or that you didn’t like the hours.
- Why are you a good fit for our company?
○ Again, offer your skills as an answer and be positive. Your skills, experience and personality should all come into play in your answer: You want this job and you can improve the company through your work and dedication.
How you present yourself is pivotal during an interview. Dress professionally and spend that extra few minutes while getting ready. Greet your interviewer with a handshake and smile, and make frequent eye contact throughout the interview. To prepare yourself for the interview, practice interviewing, research and practice the answers to questions you anticipate, and remember that the interviewer is a human, too, albeit an important one at the moment. You don’t want to appear nervous, so if you’re prone to nervous energy, try and calm your nerves before the interview.
During your presentation, you should appear focused on the task at hand. Turn your phone off prior to the interview, toss the gum you’ve been chewing and relax.
Always offer your interviewer a handshake, thank them for their time and ask for a business card. Politeness goes a long way in any personal contact; your interviewer is no different. Follow up your interview by sending a small thank you note to the interviewers. Thank them for their time and remind them that you are interested in the position and what skills you bring to the table. A handwritten note can be much more personal, however, if your penmanship isn’t amazing, type the note and sign the letter with your signature.