Whether you have just graduated or are ready for a career change, the job search process can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. For many job seekers, the actual interview can be the most stressful step in the job search process. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The right level of preparation and post-interview follow-up can help you maximize your first impression with the company and pave the way to a possible job offer!
Research and Prepare
Preparation is one of the most critical factors to interview success. This includes researching the company site, being current on company news (through online searches and other means), as well as learning about the management team. Also, be prepared with your “lead story” – essentially the highlights of what makes you an ideal candidate and the right fit for the job. Bottom line: the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be in the interview and the easier it will be to carry out a thoughtful discussion with the interviewer.
Clean up (online and in-person)
Perception can make or break your chances of being successful in an interview, which means your presence – both online and in-person – carries a lot of weight. Be sure online content and photos (on pages such as Facebook and Twitter) are appropriate. Prospective employers often search these sites as a normal course of action when preparing for an interview on their end. When you show up in-person for the actual interview, dress in conservative business attire and be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes early in case you are given paperwork to complete. A late arrival can overshadow the most positive of perceptions.
Keep it interactive
Throughout the entire interview, demonstrate your unique approach to situations by talking through your answers to questions. Ask insightful questions that show your interest in the company. This approach not only keeps the interview interesting, it allows you to highlight your strengths and successes. Also, pay attention to your body language. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, smile, sit up straight and maintain good eye contact.
Equally important to keeping things interactive is the art of listening. From the start of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. By not truly listening, you are missing a major opportunity. It is important to let the interviewer know you are hearing what is being said. This includes observing the interviewer and aligning to their style and pace. Showing your ability to pay attention and absorb what is being discussed can speak volumes in an interview.
Follow up with a Thank You
Within 24 hours of completing the interview, be sure to follow-up with a thank you email. Not only does it allow you to demonstrate your gratitude, but it opens the door for dialogue even if you don’t get the job. Sometimes, recruiters and employers reach back out on the same email thread months later, mentioning new job opportunities. Along these lines, if you have not received a response from the interviewer after several days, do not be afraid to reach out and check in on the opportunity. This will further underscore your passion for the role.
For more tips on how to make your interview work for you, check out KNF&T’s The Successful Interview here.