Congratulations on your interview. It was hard work crafting the perfect resume and cover letter and tailoring them to fit each application you’ve submitted. Now you have a chance to come face-to-face with the person or people standing between you and your dream job. Here are some suggestions to helping you achieve that goal:
Tip #1 – If you’re doing a telephone interview, verbal communication is key. Your interviewer cannot see you, so he or she only has access to a small part of what you can offer. On the phone, you must use appropriate tone, volume, and diction. You want to impress your interviewer by sounding educated, well-mannered, and positive. Address your interviewer by Sir or Ma’am.
Tip #2 – For face-to-face a interview, be sure to bring several copies of your interview materials. This includes your resume, cover letter, and reference page. This way, if you are in an unexpected panel interview (an interview with more than one interviewer, usually from different departments or management levels), you are prepared with enough information for each interviewer.
Tip #3 – Do not answer questions immediately. Take your time. Answering questions too quickly sounds too rehearsed. Answering too slowly sounds as if you are making something up. Also, be brief, and avoid filler language, such as like, uh, um, or you know.
Tip #4 – Do not ramble. Again, take your time answering questions, and try to think about how you are going to answer before you begin speaking. If you find yourself talking too quickly or incoherently, stop. Look your interviewer in the eyes, apologize, and request to start again. This shows a certain level of maturity and professionalism that leaves a great first impression and could possibly be an excellent tie-breaker.
Tip #5 – Non-verbal cues are just as important as verbal cues. Avoid fidgeting, fixing your clothing, touching your hair, clicking your pen, or tapping your fingernails on a desk. While all of these behaviors seem minor, they are annoying to interviewers and quite distracting. Remain as calm as possible, and attempt to relax.
Tip #6 – Ask questions. Research the company before the interview, and ask questions that you cannot obtain answers for anywhere else. Asking where the company is headed in the future, for example, is a decent question, because this is not information that could be learned on the company’s website in most cases. Stay away from questions that seem like you have already been given the position.
Tip #7 – Stay away from discussing pay until an offer has been made. Unless the employer offers you the position, asking or answering questions about pay can lead you in the wrong direction. Some businesses make hiring decisions based on candidate expectations. Also, once you are given an offer, you may then begin negotiating pay and/or benefits. Discussing pay before an offer takes away your strongest negotiation points.
Tip #8 – Do not mention other applications or interviews elsewhere. Employers are aware that most job hunters are submitting resumes at multiple organizations, including competitors. Mentioning that you have another interview tomorrow will simply place you on the bottom of the pile in many cases.
Tip #9 – Get clarification if you do not understand something. If you have a tough time understanding a particular question, or if the question could go in several directions, ask for clarification. Do not make assumptions. Asking for more information does not reveal any weaknesses. In fact, it shows your future employer that you pay attention to details and that you will not make unnecessary mistakes with important projects.
Tip #10 – Ask for a decision timeframe. Find out when and how you will learn if you are made an offer. Wait at least one week past the deadline, and then call or e-mail your contact to inquire about your status. Ask for the job if possible, because some employers are looking for someone who will take initiative, even in uncomfortable situations.