In today’s working environment, and thanks to the catastrophic consequences of the terrible economy we are experiencing, receiving an invitation for a job interview is considered by job seekers a privilege and a life-time opportunity. How many of you have experienced the agonizing feeling that involves applying for a job, waiting to be called for an interview and after attending the interview, you realize that you were not well-prepared for it? I am sure many of you have experienced this, and I have to agree that is not a pleasant feeling.
As we all know, job interviews are considered the most important factor on whether you land the job or go home empty-handed. Surprisingly, nowadays job seekers do not spend enough time preparing themselves for interviews, which in one way or another may be the main factor why they do not get the job or put themselves in an awkward position during the interview. This attitude may prevent a well-qualified individual to perform to his fullest during the interview, which at the same time may force the hiring official into hiring someone else.
If you are currently “job hunting,” preparing yourself for a job interview should not be a painful experience. There are certain rules you have to follow in order to improve your interview skills to be able to face the challenges involved in the process.
Before the interview:
• Do your homework about the company as well as the position you are applying to. This will help you to have a better idea why you want to work there and to discover if you are well-fit for the position.
• Practice the “most common” interview questions. By doing this, you can prepare your answers well in advance and rehearse them so you feel more secure about what you will say.
• Select your “interview attire” well in advance to avoid last-minute fiascoes. Always dress professionally during job interviews. This will help you to present a professional appearance and will show the interviewer that you care about making a good impression.
• Have all your documents in order (e.g. extra copies of resume, certificates, reference list, a small notebook).
• Build, practice and maintain a positive attitude. Remember, you will have only one chance to make a first good impression, and a positive attitude during a job interview is as powerful as the answers to the questions.
During the interview:
• Always show up to the interview on time. Try to arrive 15 to 20 minutes prior to the interview and use that time to study your surroundings and to mentally prepare yourself for what is coming your way.
• Listen carefully to the questions. Practice active listening to avoid misunderstandings and to “discover” the real meaning behind the questions.
• “Sell” yourself, but make sure you are being honest about your achievements and skills. Show the interviewer why you think you are the best candidate for the position.
• Pay attention to your body language and monitor your tone of voice.
• Maintain eye contact. This may be a common sense advice, but you will be surprise how many interviewees forget to follow this simple rule.
• Always ask questions at the end of the interview. Asking questions will show the interviewer that you are truly interested in the position. Not asking question will send the message that you do not care about finding more about the position or that you did not prepared well-enough for the interview.
After the interview:
• Before you leave the interview site and on your way out of the door make sure you thank everyone (e.g. interviewers, secretary, even the cleaning crew) not only because it shows that you are a friendly person but also because you never know if one of these people may have an instrumental part in the hiring decision.
• Send a thank you note. Again, a common sense advice, but job seekers sometimes forget to send a note thanking the interviewer for his time and for the opportunity.
• Evaluate your performance during the interview. By doing this you can identify those areas in which you need to improve just in case you do not get the job and have to continue searching for a job.
Having a positive approach toward the interview process and preparing yourself to face the before, during and after the interview challenges will help you not only to be more prepared for the interview but at the same time will provide you the necessary tools to impress the interviewer and to show him that you are the best candidate for the position.