The prospect of going to a job interview, for many people, is about as exciting as walking barefoot on hot coals. Being put under the microscope and examined by a stranger is never particularly enjoyable, but by following a few easy guidelines, the experience can be productive-which is why you are going in the first place!
Finding a job, setting up interviews, getting resumes and portfolios in order is almost like having a full-time job in itself, so why not maximize your chances of landing a great employment opportunity by preparing yourself for the interview, and put yourself in the best position possible to be successful. The following is a list of some easy and simple steps that you should be aware of and follow to make sure that you are more prepared than the person sitting next you in the lobby.
Do Your Homework
Whether you are applying for a job in a restaurant or a technology consulting firm, conducting some research on the company is essential. What products does the company produce? What is the history of the company? What are their objectives? Also look at the position offered: What are the hours? What types of employees work there? What are the responsibilities that your position requires? Some other key areas to pay attention to are: the company's financial status, history, and corporate culture. What is their motto and mission statement? Perhaps the person conducting the interview will outline many of these areas for you, but don't count on it. A great way to research the company is to visit their website. If you have time, go to their office or brick and mortar building and have a look around. If it's a restaurant-eat there. If they make a product-try out the product.Having a list of these questions ready is a great way to organize your thoughts, as well as show the interviewer that you are well-prepared and know what you are talking about.
Ok, so you aren't accepting an Academy Award, but you can learn a few tips from the people who do. Stand in front of a mirror and answer some questions that you anticipate may be asked. By doing this, you will have some practice speaking about yourself and your abilities . . .something that many people find hard to do. You also lessen the chance that you will start rambling, raving, or ranting about former jobs, bosses, etc.
Dress for Success
Unless you are interviewing for a position as a backup dancer for Madonna, leave all the outlandish and flamboyant attire for the weekend (or Halloween). Dress conservatively, brush your teeth, get a haircut, and trim your nails. For corporate interviews, men and women should wear dark, conservative suits. For more casual interviews, nice pants, shoes, and a pressed shirt and tie are good ideas. Not too much jewelry, perfume, or make-up either, ladies. Remember, if you can't properly dress yourself and practice good personal hygiene, how do you expect anyone to hire you to represent their company? First impressions are key.
First Impressions are Key
Did we already say that? Well, we're saying it again. Etiquette is first on the list. Being on time is as important as anything else you can do to prepare. If you can't be on time for an interview, chances are you won't be on time for a job, so why should the company bother? In this vein, it's a good idea to drive to the office a day or two in advance to be sure you know exactly where you are going the day of your interview. During the meeting, be sure to keep your posture straight, but not so upright that it looks like you may have some kind of problem. Speaking clearly and intelligently and keeping positive will leave a good impression. Always be respectful as well, and never use improper language. Conversely, trying to appear too intelligent, and using academic or over-the-top vocabulary will likely have the opposite of the intended effect.
Be gracious and polite. Sending a thank you note to the interviewer will not only convey your gratitude at being granted an interview, but it will also keep your name in the front of their minds. This is the act of a consummate professional, and after all, that's what you are!
There are, of course, many, many different ways to go about an interview, but showing manners, preparation, and insight into the people you are meeting and the company they represent, you will put yourself in a position to make a great first impression, and attain the success that you deserve.
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