Stakes are high during job interviews. That is why thorough job interview preparation is essential. First and foremost, you need to research the job, the industry, and the employer. You’ll also need to pay attention to details like personal appearance, punctuality, and demeanor. The checklist below will help you plan for and ace your next job interview. Discover successful strategies and techniques that will help you make a powerful impression.
Find out as much as possible about the company through your Oxford HIM Staffing Consultant, newspapers, annual reports, and websites. Your preparation will let a prospective employer know that you are motivated, hardworking, and proactive. Practice for your interview the way you would for a test or a major presentation.
Have Answers for the Most Common Interview Questions
Practice your responses to such questions as, “What are your strongest skills?” and “Why would you like to work for this company?” You may even find it helpful to write down your responses – a process that helps you to thoughtfully organize and compose them in an articulate fashion. Don’t hesitate to interject your own ideas or insights. Successful interviews are the result of two-way conversations.
Prepare Several Questions to Ask the Employer during the Interview
Prepare a few good questions from the research you’ve conducted to demonstrate your interest in the company and the position. Avoid questions where the answer is obvious or readily available, or when the topic has already been thoroughly discussed in the interview.
Identify five or six of your main attributes, accomplishments, or skills and be prepared to talk about them in very specific terms. The strengths you focus on should be aligned with the traits the employer is seeking for the available position. In addition to job-related skills, prepare a list of skills you have acquired during any activity in your life – jobs, classes, projects, parenting, hobbies, sports, virtually anything – that are transferable and applicable to the job for which you are interviewing.
Offer Brief, Focused Responses
Answer questions briefly, yet thoroughly, providing specific examples about your experience, skills, and qualifications. Stay on target with your answers, maintain eye contact with your interviewer, and offer enthusiastic responses whenever appropriate.
In job hunting, first impressions are critical. Remember, you are marketing a product – yourself – to a potential employer, and the first thing the employer sees when greeting you is your attire. Ask your recruiter for insights about the company to ensure that you have the proper dress for the type of job you are seeking.
Arrive 15 minutes early to allow for parking and to find your way around the building. You should also give yourself a few minutes to relax before the interview. Remember, your punctuality tells a prospective employer that you’re conscientious and dependable.
Make a Good First Impression
Stand straight, and make good eye contact. (Note the color of the interviewer's eyes.) Connect with a good, firm handshake. Sit erect and lean forward in the chair, appearing interested and attentive. (Slumping denotes a lazy attitude.) That first impression can be a great beginning, or a quick ending to your interview.
Be Friendly, Enthusiastic, and Positive
Smile and say hello to company employees – support staff often influence hiring decisions. And always maintain a positive attitude. Never talk negatively about past employers or coworkers, regardless of your experience with them. A positive attitude shows that you’re a team player.
Ask for the Assignment
Make sure you ask about the next step in the process – or even ask for the job – before the end of the interview. Asking a question such as, “Do my qualifications match the needs of your company?” gets right to the point and lets the interviewer know that you’re serious about employment.
Don't Forget the Thank You Letter
It's a very rare employer who isn't pleased to get a thank you letter. Most consider it common courtesy. It’s also a way to differentiate yourself from the pack, show that you're really interested in the position, and keep your name in front of them. It is acceptable to email a letter, however a short, handwritten note demonstrates professionalism and interest. Be sure that the note you send is neat and well written with no typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors.