These top interview tips will help you cover everything you need to know to succeed at job interviews. From checking out the company to sending an interview thank you note, these job interview tips cover all the basics needed for interviewing success.
Check Out the Company
How much do you know about the company that just contacted you to schedule an interview? It should be plenty, and all the information you need is available online. Here are tips on how to research a company, get the inside scoop on the company culture, and use connections who can help you get an interview advantage.
Visit the Company Website
Visit the company website, review the company mission statement and company history, products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site.
LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at glance, more information on a company you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. Take a look at your interviewer’s profile to get insight into
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Dress for Interview Success
The first impression you make on a potential employer can make a big difference. The first judgement an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why it’s always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.
Use Social Media
Check Facebook and Twitter. Become a Fan of the company on Facebook and follow it on Twitter. You’ll find information you may not have found otherwise.
Google and Google News
Search both Google and Google News for the company name.
Improve Your Interview Technique
A job interview gives you a chance to shine. What you say and what you do is going to either move you to the next round of consideration for employment or knock you out of contention
A job interview gives you a chance to shine. What you say and what you do is going to either move you to the next round of consideration for employment or knock you out of contention. It doesn’t take much to make an impression – good or bad. If you haven’t taken time to dress appropriately or if you say the “wrong” thing, it will be over.
Take the time to prepare your interview technique including knowing what’s on your resume, being able to present why you are qualified for the job, why you are interested in the company, and practicing staying calm and focused. It’s important to remember that the image the interviewer has of you when he first meets you is the one that is going to last.
Know the Facts
I’ve been surprised when applicants weren’t able to tell me their dates of employment or what they actually did on a day-to-day basis at their job. Review your work history – and make sure what you say matches what’s on your resume. Take the time to learn about the company and about the job you’re applying for.
What You Don’t Say
What you don’t say can – and will – be used against you in a job interview. If you come to an interview chewing gum or drinking coffee, you will already have one strike against you. Too much perfume or not enough deodorant won’t help either. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to an iPod while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike and you could be done with your candidacy before you even say a word.
What You Do Say
Your verbal communications are important. Don’t use slang. Speak clearly and definitely. If you need to think about a response to an interview question, that’s fine. It’s better to think before you talk than to stumble over your words. Practice answering some interview questions so you’re comfortable responding the basics.
It can be easy to get distracted during a job interview. It’s stressful and you’re in the hot seat when it comes to having to respond to questions. That said, if you do your best to listen to what the interviewer is asking, it will be easier to frame appropriate responses.
Prepare for a Phone Interview
While you’re actively job searching, it’s important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment’s notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk. Review these tips for advice on how to pull off your phone interview without a hitch.
Employers use telephone interviews as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.
While you’re actively job searching, it’s important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moment’s notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk.
Be Prepared to Interview
Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical phone interview questions. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.
- Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
- Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
- Turn call-waiting off so your call isn’t interrupted.
- If the time isn’t convenient, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
- Clear the room – evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV.
- Close the door.
- Unless you’re sure your cell phone service is going to be perfect, consider using a landline rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call or static on the line.
Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. I’ve always found it’s helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Any cassette recorder will work. You’ll be able to hear your “ums” and “uhs” and “okays” and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech. Also rehearse answers to those typical questions you’ll be asked.
During the Phone Interview
- Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
- Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
- Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
- Use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
- Give short answers.
- Remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.
After the Interview:
Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
Remember to say “thank you.” Follow with a thank you note which reiterates your interest in the job.
Taking the time to review typical interview questions you will probably be asked during a job interview will help give you a framework for your responses and will help calm your frazzled nerves, because you won’t be scrambling for an answer while you’re in the interview hot seat. Practice interviewing with a friend or family member ahead of time and it will be much easier when you’re actually in a job interview.
Take the Time to Say Thank You
Taking the time to say thank you after a job interview not only is good interview etiquette, it reinforces your interest in the position. Use your thank you letter, as well, to address any issues and concerns that came up during the interview.