Changing jobs can be a daunting task, filled with anxiety about your qualifications, experience, and questions on how you will fit within a company. The interview is the most important part of the hiring process, as it gives both you and the employer a chance to see how things may turn out in the long run. The employer may ask a series of personality questions, ask you to describe how you have handled a specific situation in the past, or question what you know about the company or position. The key to a successful interview is a mix of how you present yourself, your level of self-confidence, your ability to communicate your expectations appropriately, and listening. Here are some key tips and techniques to make your next interview a success!
1. Learn about the company beforehand
Make an extra effort to read press releases, company information, recent news, or other information regarding the potential employer. Use the internet to seek out information, and stay abreast of current trends. This will not only familiarize you with the industry, it will also show your take-charge attitude when you are able to talk about the company with the interviewer.
2. Dress for success
Looking and dressing your best cannot be more important than at the job interview. Be sure all clothing is pressed, your shoes are clean, and your hair and general appearance are polished and professional. Although the environment may be casual, you won’t lose points for dressing up in the initial stages of your meetings with the potential employer. You want to use this time to make the best impression possible.
3. Be on time!
Nothing makes you lose more points than not showing up on time, or early. Schedule yourself to arrive at least 10-15 minutes earlier than your designated appointment and take some time in the waiting area to gather your thoughts. The extra time also ensures that you will find the building, room, or office and arrive on time if you get lost!
4. Deliver a firm handshake and make good eye contact
The first 5 minutes are crucial to establish rapport, and you can make a lasting impression with a firm and confident handshake, as well as sincere eye contact. Throughout the interview, you also need to focus and maintain comfortable eye contact with the interviewer or group.
5. Be clear about your goals and standards
Make sure you communicate what your personal ‘mission statement’ might be; this can include your commitment to continuing education, growth over the long-term with a company, learning more within the position, or any other sincere goals you have for your career. This helps the employer understand your commitment to not only yourself, but your working style and potential also.
6. Bring up the salary question at an appropriate time
Depending on the type of organization, it may be wise to bring up the salary question. The best way to do this is to research your position thoroughly, how it compares to others in the market, and review salary ranges based on this information. You will need to gauge what your worth to this job and organization would be, so it is important to be clear on what you can expect and what you can expect from yourself. Most organizations do have parameters and ranges for different positions, based on experience, so you will need to work within these limits. However, you can negotiate and learn your best placement by discussing what you will bring to the position at your absolute best.
7. Describe your strengths with specific examples
Although you may already have indicated your strengths in a cover letter or resume, it is still a good idea to reiterate them somehow in the interview. Highlight successful projects where your strengths were a direct contributor, and show the interviewer that you could tackle similar projects with these attributes.
8. Describe your weaknesses as strengths
Many people stumble on this question, as it can be taken in a negative way. However, the most effective way to answer it is to define your weaknesses as strengths. For example, if you define one of your weaknesses as occasionally overworking, you can use this to work for you by emphasizing how you are increasing your time management skills to overcome it. The primary reason for this type of question is to see how well you know yourself; when you can identify something that may be considered negative, and then show how you overcame it, or how you plan to reduce it, you will show your potential employer that you work towards positive personal development when needed.
9. Communicate how you would like to grow with the company
Depending on the type of industry or company, it is a great opportunity to show your long-term commitment and dedication to the potential job. Give examples of your interest in job and growth opportunities, and show the interviewer that you are committed to making your position work for both yourself and the company.
10. Highlight your motivation in various jobs and positions
This is often a result of the question, “When were you most satisfied with your job?” The interviewer is trying to find out what motivates you the most; this can range from working with a diverse range of people, solving problems, selling to customers, working in teams to achieve long-range goals, or any other area of work that you have felt strongly about in the past. Make sure to define at least two to three examples that you can elaborate on beforehand.
These ten tips and techniques can be used as a guide to interview success. Some other important things to keep in mind are to remain calm and confident as possible; remember, the interviewer is ultimately trying to get to know you, not how well you can respond to questions! Be as natural as possible, and do make a point to highlight your strengths, past performance successes, and knowledge about the industry or position. This is your chance to shine and make a lasting impression, and will help you towards a career you can be successful in. Good luck!