How to Interview

The marketplace is extremely competitive with tens to even hundreds of people with good qualifications vying for the same job. If your goal is to land that dream job, you should take the process of the interview as seriously as possible. The truth is, whether you are qualified or not, a person who interviews well will always make a great impression and thus boost his or her chances of landing a job. Interviewing for a job is not an enviable situation. In an interview, a candidate is being evaluated and scrutinized to determine just how good he or she is and whether or not he or she will make a good fit within a company. In order to do well in an interview, you must be confident, well prepared and be able to sell yourself. Here are some tips.

The Importance of Being Prepared
Being prepared is extremely important and essential to doing well in a job interview. You must show the employer that you take this opportunity seriously and will do whatever it takes to land the job. Some things to consider when prepping for an interview are:

Research and know about the company. When being interviewed, an interviewer will test you to determine whether you are just looking to land any job or whether you specifically want to work at this company. The more you know about the company; the better off you will be when answering questions.
An interviewer will ask you questions, so make sure you are ready and willing to talk about yourself. If you would rather not talk about your past, current skill set or future goals don’t bother showing up for the interview.
We all expect the interviewer to ask lots of questions, and you too should also have memorized some smart and intelligent questions for the interview. Don’t treat the interview as an interrogation, treat it as a conversation with enough of back and forth dialogue.
The Importance of First Impressions
Most job seekers will only get about an hour to make a good impression. In this short period of time, you will need to sell yourself. Human resource recruiters are very adept at both interviewing individuals and also judging them. It is imperative that you always try to make a good first impression. Creating a good first impression is actually not that difficult, here are some tips:

Be confident. You don’t have to be obnoxious, but walk tall, smile and look as though you generally enjoy being interviewed.
Show yourself in the best light possible. Don’t talk bad about yourself or constantly focus on your weaknesses, instead bring up your strengths and achievements. An interviewer will almost always ask about your weaknesses, answer honestly, but don’t dwell on the subject.
Show up for the interview on time. It sounds pretty basic, but many people get 10 or 15 minutes late. If you even think you are going to be one minute late, call and explain your situation, whether it is traffic etc. Showing your interest and respect is better than arriving late with nothing said. For best results, show up 15 minutes early.
Dress to impress. Dress well for your interview. You don’t have to wear expensive clothes, but you should show the interviewer that you respect the opportunity and that you can come to an interview wearing conservative attire. Never dress down for an interview, if you have second thoughts about an outfit – trust your gut.
Greet the recruiter properly. This is extremely important. Make sure you look directly into his or her eyes. With a smile and a decent handshake, say hello. Greeting shows respect for the interviewer and a proper greeting can easily make you likable and give you a great first impression.
During the Interview
After having started off giving the interviewer a good first impression during the meet and greet portion, now the interview begins. Don’t get overly self conscious and there isn’t any reason to freeze up. Rely on your preparation and your personal skills to understand that the more you go in thinking the interview is a conversation the less you will feel scrutinized and interrogated. Here are some ways to avoid the common pitfalls of interviewing.

As stated before, be prepared, do your homework about the company, keep in mind what questions you would like to ask and be familiar with questions that may be asked of you. Here are some of the questions that may be asked of you:

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why do you want to work for this organization?
Why are you leaving your current or last position?
What would you like to achieve at your new position if hired?
Do you work well with others or prefer to work on your own?
What are your successes and failures?
What kind of salary range are your looking to be in?
What are your credentials (education, special training, etc)?
Do you have any hobbies?
When asked questions, answer them completely and do not try to dodge a question.

Make sure that you convey that you are genuinely interested in working at this specific firm. HR recruiters will always value a candidate more if they genuinely want to work for their company and not because they just need a job.

Ask Questions during the Interview
Once again, an interview should be looked at as a conversation that has dialogue going both ways and not just as an interrogation. One way to improve this dialogue is to ask smart and insightful questions. Besides just asking these questions, get involved or show that you are engaged. The more engaged you are, the more the recruiter will sense that you are interested in the job. Never ask questions just for the sake of asking. Even if these questions are prepared, try to be spontaneous and ask them at appropriate times during the interview. Here are some sample questions which might be good to ask during an interview.

What are you looking for in an employee?
What is the reason for the open position (is it due to growth or turnover)?
What are some of the challenges this position offers?
Could you describe the working environment, work culture, etc.
Could you describe some of the benefits of working for your company.
How is the salary calculated (hourly, commission based, bonuses, stock option
s, etc)?
When will the job be available (are you looking to hire someone ASAP or in the next few months)?
After the Interview
Once the interview has finished, there are a few things that you should do to boost your chances of landing the job. They are:

Write the recruiter a thank you note. Make sure to get the business card of your recruiter and send a well written thank you note no later than 3 days after the interview. You want to make sure that you are fresh in the mind of the recruiter.
Keep in mind that the interview process is longer these days than ever. Expect to be called back up to 3 times in order to land a worthwhile opportunity.
Don’t get dejected if you are not chosen for the job. Just because you were not chosen doesn’t mean you weren’t a quality candidate. Many jobs that are interviewed for never get filled and some take months to fill, not because of a lack of qualified workers to fill them, but due to red-tapism among higher ups.