You found it, the job you really want, the one you have been searching for. You got your name in front of the right people and patiently waited. Then the call finally came. Yes! You did it! You got the interview. But then the nervousness sets in. It doesn’t matter your age or experience level, interviewing can be challenging. Sometimes, it is the most difficult part of the entire hiring process. Here are a few tips you can put into practice to really impress your new employer with an interview you can leave feeling confident about.
Plan – Prepare ahead of time by planning your route to the interview. Plan to leave early enough and allow extra time in case of traffic. Plan alternate routes in case of delays and if time allows, drive the route a few times, especially if it is out of town. This allows you to get familiar with the route. Try driving around the same time your interview will be so that you can prepare for the usual traffic patterns. The last thing you want to be at an interview is late. The only way to avoid this is by allowing yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
Research – It can’t hurt to have as much knowledge as possible in any given scenario, but especially job interviews. Research the company you will be interviewing for as well as the position you applied for. Gain as much knowledge as you can about the company’s values and mission statements. For example, if the company has a heavy community presence and you have the opportunity to bring that up in the interview, chances are the interviewer will acknowledge that you did your research and ideally be impressed that you went the extra mile to get a feel for the company you will hopefully be employed by. Also, when doing your own research, you may have some questions in mind, that way when the interviewers ask “Do you have any questions for us?” – You will.
Organize – In the days leading up to the interview decide what to wear. Find out if the company is business casual or business professional and set out your outfit in preparation to make sure it is in tip-top shape. Organize any documents you will be bringing along. A good suggestion is to create a professional folder to take with you. Include copies of your resume, cover letter & references. Also include any degrees or certificates if they are relevant to the position you are interviewing for. You can even create a list of good questions you want to ask your prospective employers and perhaps a professional looking notebook and a few pens to take notes.
Practice – Take another look at your resume and read through everything in detail. Put yourself in the interviewer’s position and ask yourself what you would ask a candidate with this profile. Be critical of yourself and be prepared to discuss any weak points in your resume. Also practice relating why your skills, strengths and expertise make you the perfect candidate for the organization.
Confidence – Confidence is an important element during the job search in general, but it is especially critical during the interview process. We all get nervous during the interview no matter who you are, but your main task during the interview is to sell yourself and a certain level of confidence needs to be exerted to do so. You can practice beforehand by jotting down a few notes on key words and concepts you want to express in your responses and practice incorporating them naturally into your replies. Rehearsed and memorized answers signal to a lack of confidence. Another tip is when talking about yourself, tell a story about your achievements or give an example of how you dealt with conflict. Interviewers might see multiple candidates in one day so an interesting story will anchor your interview in their minds.
Don’t forget to relax, take a deep breath, smile and remind yourself that you are there for a reason. Someone recognized something specific in your qualifications, background or strengths that led them to believe that you might be a great fit. You have what it takes to be there.
This post was written by FTWCCU employee, Gabrielle Harrison.