12 Aug 2015
Whether you have a job and are looking for a change or you don’t have a job and you are looking to get one, you will eventually have to go through the interview process.
First what is an interview? Many people think an interview is a one way conversation, to an extent it is as the employer has the majority of the control in the situation. They will ask you questions about yourself, your qualifications, and determine if you are the right fit for the job and will get along with your potential coworkers.
You have control too. It is a time for you to interview them as well. Sure, the interview is a time for you to sell yourself and your qualifications. It is also a time for you to interview the potential employer to see if the position is a right fit for you, if you will like the work environment and location. It is also a time to determine if you will be able to work and get along with your potential new boss.
Many interviews, especially in a professional setting, will be a panel interview, meaning it could be with two to four individuals, it may seem like an inquisition, but keep in mind bringing on a new staff member is an investment for the company. It is worth repeating, you are interviewing them as well, if you are offered the position you must determine if you are willing to invest yourself with the company as well.
Dress For Success
Now for the interview, you need to prepare yourself, both in dress and in knowledge. For dress, you should of course be clean and neat. Dress for the environment in which you are interviewing, for example if it is a professional business office men should wear a suit and tie, women should wear a pant suit either skirt or slacks, dress shirt and blazer. Colors should be subdue, dark blue as proven to come across very well in interviews. Jewelry should be limited tasteful, cologne or perfume should be light, never over baring.
Do a lot internet research on the company you are interviewing with. Get as much information about the company as possible, what they do or sell, how they impact the area, even their financials if available. Showing you have researched the company show you have some initiative and interest in your potential employer. It never comes across good if you are asked “what do you know about the company?” or “why do you want to work for us?” and you answer “I don’t know anything about your company” or “I just need a job and applied for your opening”. It would be better is you say something like “I am very impressed by the way ABC company supports the community and helps others with their widget product, that is the type of company I want to be a part of.”
You should also research different types of interview questions that you may be asked regarding the position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a computer support position for Windows, just search for “interview questions for windows computer support positions” or a project manager position, search for “interview questions for project manager position.” Review the questions and formulate answers based on your experience. The better prepared you are for the interview the less nervous you will be.
Speaking of nerves. Don’t go in desperate for the job. Sure you may want it bad, you may need it really bad, but don’t look at it as the only job out there. You got this interview, you will get another interview if this one doesn’t work out. If you are offered the position but you don’t feel it will be a right fit you don’t have to take it, or you could take it and use it to gain some additional experience while you continue to look for a more ideal position. I remember I once interviewed for a large publisher. As soon as I walked into the office I knew it was not the place for me. It was an older building that was very cluttered inside. The person I interviewed with had so many publications and books in his office he hardly had room on his desk to work. I interviewed with only him and did not get an opportunity to meet anyone else that I may be working with. The job was 45 minutes from my home and I left the interview during rush hour, it took me 1 ½ hours to get home. Before I got home I had already received a message stating they wanted to extend an offer. I politely declined.
My point is just as you need to be a good fit for the company, the company and job needs to be a good fit for you as well.
So to prepare for an interview, research the company, research potential interview questions, have a friend or family member ask you mock interview questions or practice in front of a mirror in answering questions, and of course, make sure you bring multiple copies of your résumé printed on nice linen résumé paper. Whether the interviews have a copy or not, present them with a copy.
Always stand when being introduced, give a good solid handshake, smile and look each interviewer in the eye. Do everything you can do to be prepared, it will help you be successful in the interview, and it will also help in reducing the stress of the situation.