5 Steps to Success:
Preparation --leads to-- Knowledge --which leads to-- Confidence --which leads to-- Comfort --which leads to-- Performance. If you PREPARE for the interview, you will have the KNOWLEDGE about interviewing skills and information about the company, position, industry, interviewers, etc. Having that knowledge creates the CONFIDENCE that you are ready for the interview. Confidence makes people more COMFORTABLE. People that are comfortable tend to have high PERFORMANCE and do very well on interviews. The best jobs are not always won by the best candidates; the best jobs are won by the candidates that interview the best.
BEFORE: A couple days before a face-to-face interview, make sure your interview clothes are clean and pressed. Dress conservatively for interviews. Dark polished shoes, no boots. Clean, trimmed fingernails. Men should be clean-shaven. Woman may wear clear nail polish only. Dedicate one night to a mock question and answer session to help you prepare to the process of answering questions on the fly. Practice make perfect. Eat a snack or small meal (and brush teeth or use mints) before the interview. Do not smoke before the interview as you will carry the odor with you.
BRING: Bring a professional notebook with notepad (take notes during your interview), two pens, three copies of your resume, employment history, and anything you can use during your interview to clarify your skill sets and set you apart from the crowd. It can include rewards, accomplishments, letters of recommendation, annual reviews, certifications, presentations, something helped develop, anything that could tip the scale in your favor. Put the most recent information at the front of the book. Write down a few pre-determined questions to ask the interviewer. Put an umbrella in the car in case of rain.
TIMING: Leave early to give yourself extra time to accommodate for traffic, getting fuel, accidents, parking, finding the right building and entrance, and other unforeseeable issues. Do not make yourself late as this can add unnecessary stress. Arrive on-site 15-30 minutes early. Turn your cell phone off and leave the earpiece in the car. Be courteous to everyone you meet, including the receptionist. Check in 5-10 minutes (no more, no less) before your scheduled time... “Hi, my name is [Your First Name and Last Name] and I’m here for a 9am interview with Dan Smith. " "Good morning, Dan, I’m [Your First Name] .” Shake hands firmly and maintain good eye contact throughout the interview.
RELAX: Sit up straight, maintain good posture. Breathe deeply and slowly (and quietly). Breathing deeply and slowly will help you to relax. Speak at a normal rate, not too fast or excessively. Keep your hands and jaw relaxed. Keep calm, poised, and professional throughout the interview.
POSITIVE: People spend more live time with co-workers than their own family. Hiring managers hire people that they like. Your attitude and personality are some of the most important factors in interviewing. It is imperative that you come across as someone that would be enjoyable to work with. Bring a good amount of energy and show genuine interest in the opportunity. How well you interview will impact the salary offered! The interviewer has a stake in seeing you succeed so s/he can take the interviewing task off her/his plate and have you contribute to the company. The interviewer is looking for you to show why you will succeed in the company. Someone at the company has already reviewed your resume and determined that you have the right type of skills. Face-to-face interviews are the time to prove that you have the right type of personality in addition to your skills. Smile (it really is contagious) and look like you really want to be there.
CLOSING: Let the interviewer(s) know that you are interested in the opportunity. "Dan, I am very interested in this opportunity. What is the next step and time line?" You can always turn the position down; but if you do not sell yourself, you will never get that privilege.
CALL: Call me immediately after the interview with all the details and to discuss a follow-up strategy.
FOLLOW-UP NOTE: Follow-up notes should be sent within 24 hours. The following three paragraph is a polite and professional sample.
170 Roanoke Street
March 3, 201Y
Ms. Patricia Smith
1212 Lark Lane
Dear Ms. Smith:
Thank you for the opportunity to visit with you and see your facilities last Wednesday. Both the interview and the tour made for an exciting and complete day.
I was so very impressed with your warehousing procedures. Mr. Allen was so thorough in explaining your process to me, and I will be corresponding directly with him to express my appreciation. Incidentally, the process you use is quite similar to one I have been researching through an independent study this term. Perhaps I can share my final report with you and Mr. Allen.
Again, thank you for your hospitality during my time in Richmond and for all your efforts to arrange my visit. Having seen your operation, I am all the more enthused about the career opportunity that Sheldon E-Solutions offers. I look forward to your decision.
Sincerely, Jan Richardson
This is a follow-up note, not a thank you note. Thank you notes are sent when someone does something nice for you. Follow-up notes are sent when both parties bring something to the table (and usually should not include the words “thank you”). Follow-up notes can show how a person thinks. It is very important that you put careful thought into your words. Spelling and grammar must be triple-checked. If you met with several people, write a slightly different note to each person as they will compare notes. Send all follow-up notes to me for review prior to sending them to the interviewer (Ask me about the candidate that received an offer, only to have it rescinded when the interviewer read his follow-up note). When emailing any correspondence to an interviewer, copy me on the message.
Sample TRADITIONAL Interview Questions:
Sample Questions to Ask Interviewer: