Now that you have completed your resume and have circulated it furiously; it is time to consider the interview process. Here are a few tips to acing an interview:
1. Presenting yourself as a qualified, knowledgeable candidate is paramount in acing a job interview. Part of this presentation will be based on how you physically present yourself, including your dress. Though the position you are applying for may not require business or business casual clothing, this is the best choice of attire for an interview. You need not invest in a new, expensive suit or dress, but you do need to look clean and conservative. Many first round "cuts" are based on inappropriate dress and presentation in an interview. Be sure that you pull together an adequate, presentable outfit to wear to an interview. Generally, a suit or dress with conservative, low-heeled shoes make a great first impression. Place emphasis on how you present yourself and your clothing. Your dress or suit does not have to be new and expensive; it does have to fit well and be clean and ironed. Keep in mind that the interview is a business meeting and should be treated as such.
2. Always try to do your research. Spend time learning about the company you are interviewing with and about the specific position. Keep job postings so that you can review the qualifications they are looking for and brush-up on your knowledge; this is especially true for technical or hands-on positions. Also, prepare questions about the company and/or position; let the interviewer know that you have done research and express interest in the company and position. Remember, the more enthusiasm you show, the better your chances of securing a position. That said, do not convey any fake, or contrived answers, your interviewer is listening to every word and if you leave room for doubt, your chances of a second interview or job offer becomes greatly reduced.
3. Answer all questions thoroughly and honestly. If you cannot answer a question, don't. You should be open and honest about your skills and experiences; after all, you do not want to be offered a job that you are not qualified for as this will set you up for failure and disappointment. If there is a specific skill that your interviewer is looking for and you have not gained that skill, you can express a desire to learn that skill and show an interest in professional growth. Impress upon your employer that you have a keen interest in developing your skills and that you can rely on your existing skills to aid you in that process.
4. Have your references prepared to take with you to an interview. Talk to all potential references and notify them that you will be attending an interview and wish to use their name as a reference; collect all current contact information at this time. Prepare your reference list and have it typed and printed in a clear format; usually listing the persons first name, title, company name and current phone number.
5. Should you be early for an interview? Yes, you should try to be a little early for an interview. Leaving yourself a little time to get to an interview will reduce stress and worry. If you leave yourself time, you reduce the chances of being late, which could cost you an opportunity.
6. A nice finish to an interview is to thank your interviewer for their time and impress upon them that you enjoyed the interview and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to work within their company or organization.
7. Follow-up with a thank you note. The interviewer invested their time and interest in you, now show them that you recognize that and thank them for it. Once again, show enthusiasm for the position and company. Your interviewer will be impressed by your commitment to your job search.