Whether you’re heading out for your first interview ever or you’re on your hundredth try, it helps to learn as much as you can about attending interviews.
Those new to the job market should take the time to understand what to expect on a job interview. Those who have had many interviews can benefit by reviewing what they’ve experienced and making adjustments to better their chances of success.
Interviewing will differ by industry – interviews for IT jobs will vary from interviews for healthcare jobs – but there are certain universal interviewing tips that will apply to all fields.
Attending an Interview
Good news! You’ve been asked to meet with an employer face-to-face. Consider yourself successful. Obviously your resume, cover letter, and/or contacts have paid off and someone is expressing that they may want to hire you.
You’re probably excited and even nervous about attending an interview. Should you be? Yes and no. Yes, it is natural to be excited and nervous about an interview because it means you are enthusiastic about the prospect of employment. Employers want people who really want the job. Yet it is important to make sure that you aren’t nervous due to the “unknown” of interviews. Are you nervous because you don’t know what to anticipate? If so, it is important to do your best to eliminate that feeling. You can do so by following these tips:
Tips for Attending Interviews
Tip #1: Prepare!
Nothing is more important than preparation when it comes to an interview. Preparation includes research. Research the company, the job description, and even the person you are about to meet if possible.
Know as much as you can about what the employer is looking for before you attend the interview. Be prepared to show how your experience can meet and even exceed the company’s needs. Anticipate interview questions and prepare how you will answer them. Prepare good questions about the position and the company.
Tip #2: Organize!
Organization is another part of preparation. Nothing can make you feel more nervous or look more bumbling than a lack of organization. It also tells the employer that you will behave similarly once you have the job. Organize your materials so you can easily access them for application purposes and on the interview itself. Know what time you are to attend the interview and be there early. Organize all your details including clothing, travel route, contact phone numbers, materials, etc. in advance so you don’t feel rushed, flustered, or confused before or during the interview.
Tip #3: Behave!
You know how your mother told you to “behave?!” Well, there’s no better time to behave than on an interview. It’s a time to be professional and use your best manners. Today there are more opportunities than ever to do the wrong thing on an interview. For example,
• Don’t let your cell phone ring when you attend an interview.
• Don’t wear a Bluetooth on your ear.
• Don’t carry in a cup of coffee.
• Even while you are waiting, try to avoid constant texting or listening to music through earbuds or playing games on your phone. Someone may be watching you to see how you spend your time.
• Do take the time to review your materials.
• Do observe the office.
• Do be polite and shake hands, smile and be friendly.
• Do take part in conversation but not to the point that you’re rambling about personal details. The interviewer doesn’t need to know about your recent divorce or your honor roll student.
• Be yourself but be professional. Engage in conversations the interviewer initiates.
• Try your best to use good body language including straight posture. Try not to fidget. Eliminate anything that causes you to do so.
Tip #4: Thank!
An important part of attending an interview is how you leave an interview. Thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to present your qualifications. You can show your interest by asking questions about when you can expect to hear about their decision and you should express that you are interested in having the job (if you are). Follow up by thanking the employer in writing.
Using these tips for attending interviews will help you in any job interview. If you follow through with these tips you will place yourself above many other candidates. Employers often find themselves frustrated by a candidate’s lack of interviewing skills. Often those with great qualifications end up being disappointments to those who had high hopes of hiring them. Don’t be a disappointment – present the candidate they saw in your resume. Exceed their expectations!
Lynn Mattoon is a Content Editor & Career Writer for TechCareers.com and HealthCareJobSite.com, Beyond.com career communities. You can follow her on Twitter at BeyondCareers.