For most job seekers interviewing can be the most intimidating part of the job search. But there’s no need to fear! Your resume made it past hundreds of competitors, and now you have an opportunity to show and sell why YOU are the best candidate for the job. The interview provides the platform to ask essential questions, gain valuable information about your potential employer and highlight areas of your expertise that might not be obvious in your resume.
Develop a strategy before the interview. For example, your questions and preparation should strategically line up with the goals of the position you seek to fill and the company mission. To increase your chances of landing a second or third interview or job offer, prepare in advance.
Here are five key tips to keep in mind:
1. Dress Professionally.
Appearance has an impact. The interviewer will likely form an opinion of your professional presentation before the interview begins. Be confident and dress appropriately.
2. Conduct thorough research on the company mission, clients, products, services, culture, competitors, concerns, success and anything relevant to the role you are seeking.
Companies want solutions and creative ideas. The better you understand how the pieces fit, you will directly convey how your skills and background match the position and how you could make an immediate impact.
3. Know who will be in the room BEFORE your interview---even if it's a Skype interview
Knowing who is in the room will allow you to connect the dots and relate your relevant experience to the work areas of each hiring committee member. Hiring committees are knowledgeable about the position and company culture and have a sense which candidate would most likely do well in a particular role. They will evaluate your presentation, communication style, level of expertise, methodology, and more.
4. Bring samples of your work
Set yourself apart from competitors and bring samples of your writing, testimonies, project outcomes, an innovative process you developed, or a task you streamlined that saved time or money. If you improved the moral of a department by implementing fun and creative events, such as pot-lucks, staff birthday announcements, annual picnics or fun team challenges that encouraged staff creativity and competitiveness, do not hesitate to share when appropriate.
5. Prepare for behavioral interview questions
Behavioral interview questions will reveal to the hiring committee your ability to get along with others, your approach to finding solutions, and how you might connect to the company culture. Be prepared to share a previous work experience when you encountered a challenge and share a solution you implemented that yield value.