The Interview

The Interview
October 13, 2009 Kim Goldman

The interview process is nerve racking, for sure!  All the anxiety that you might feel leading up to your meeting, is natural and perfectly normal.  However, if you keep in mind that you are equally interviewing THEM as they are you, this can help ease some of the nervousness.  Yes, you are going to an interview with the hope of being hired to fulfill a certain need that the company has …but don’t forget, that you will be spending a lot at this job and need to make sure it’s a good fit for BOTH parties.

A few tips to remember during the interview process:

Dress to Impress!

“You only get one chance to make a first impression”.  Make sure to dress appropriately for your interview; you may not need to wear a dress or a suit, if you are going to interview for a stock boy position or pizza delivery girl, but be presentable.  The way you value your appearance will translate into how you value the companies appearance.  Most people say, if you wouldn’t wear it to church or temple, you shouldn’t wear it on a job interview.  Use your instinct about what to wear.  Ripped clothing or shirts half tucked in/half out or if any of under garments are showing … probably not a good idea!

Do your research!

Nothing makes a future employer more excited, than to know you are a go-getter!  You can accomplish this impression early on, by showing the hiring manager that you took the time and energy to research the company.

  • Check out the website;  make notes to yourself about things (product, services, mission statement) that are listed on the site.  Refer to the site as you respond to questions.
  • Know the job you are applying for!  Read up on the job description, understand what you are going in to talk about.   Think about how your skill set can accomplish the needs of the open position.  Ask yourself “why would I be great for this job?” …  “why do I want to work at this company?”.  It’s ok if you don’t have the exact qualifications, but prepared to talk about what other things you bring that can be equally helpful
  • Ask questions.  Before you come to the interview, make a list of questions that you have about the company, the position, the working environment, etc.  You might very well get your questions answered during the interview process, but having a list in front of you of what you would like to know, will be helpful when the interviewee says, “Do you have any questions for me?”.  If he/she answered everything from your list, still try and come up with at least ONE question.  You can always start your answer with, “Wow, in reviewing my notes that I prepared before coming in, you answered everything I was curious about.  You were very thorough.  But I did have just one more ….”  Again, the purpose of this is to demonstrate your preparedness, and your ability to listen and absorb information as its being described to you.  Future employers like talking about the place they work (usually!), they like answering questions (helpful for them as they interview others in the future), they like to talk about themselves and their role at the company.

Establish Rapport

By establishing a rapport with your interviewer, you build “common ground” between the both of you. It is important to listen and be sensitive to the interviewer’s style. This can make communication easier and the whole interview more comfortable.

Listen closely to the interviewer for cues on how you should act. Is he being formal or informal? How loudly is he speaking? What sort of information is he trying to solicit: general, professional, or personal? Once you’ve determined where the interviewer is ‘coming from,’ you can follow his or her lead.

Try to speak with the same rhythm and tone of voice. Make some friendly observations about your surroundings. If the interview is conversational, make small talk about your interests, hobbies, or what you did last weekend. Be positive and upbeat. All of these will help both of you relax and establish a connection.

It’s important to appear open and friendly as well. Give the interviewer a firm handshake if he offers it, and remember to smile. Make sure you look attentive, with good posture and consistent eye-contact.

Follow Up

A simple thank you note (via snail mail or email) goes a long way!  While you may not get the job, sending a thank you note is a classy/professional gesture.  Most people don’t think to do this, so if you send a letter (preferably in the mail), you will stand out.  And if the employer is still contemplating who to hire, your note might push your interview/resume to the top of the pile.

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