If it’s been a while since you’ve had a job interview, you may be pretty nervous. You’ll also be surprised by how much things have changed. Employers expect a lot more preparation from today’s candidates, so the more time you put in upfront, the more confident you’ll be at the interview and the better your chance of landing the job.
Here are a few tips to get you through the process.
Before the interview:
- Prepare your interview outfit well in advance of the interview. Make sure your suit is pressed, shoes are polished and shirt or blouse is clean.
- Research the company. Pretty much everything you need to know is available online. Look for new developments or problems you can solve.
- Plan your route. If you have time, do a test-run to make sure you don’t get lost on the day of the interview and show up late.
- Update and print out your resume. Sure, they have an emailed copy, but bring at least three clean copies to the interview for your interviewer to refer to as you speak.
- Practice with a friend. If at all possible do a bit of role-playing with a friend. It will help you work out any bugs in your delivery and give your confidence a boost.
- Prepare your references. Check that your reference list is still relevant. Contact each person on your list to confirm they are still willing to be your reference. Let them know they will (hopefully) be getting a call.
During the interview:
- Remember, you’re being assessed from the moment you walk in. Behave professionally and be kind to everyone you encounter. Hiring managers often ask front desk employees for their opinion of you.
- Watch your body language. Perfect your professional handshake, make eye contact and smile with confidence.
- Provide plenty of detail. When asked questions about your experience, give specific details that relate to the position you are being interviewed for.
- Be positive. Don’t ever complain about previous employers. It won’t make you an attractive candidate even if you are in the right.
- Ask for the job. Many hiring managers look for candidates to say they want the job. Don’t keep them waiting.
After the interview.
- Do a post-mortem. Review the interview to analyze how it went. You’re sure to have interviews in the future. Think about what you did well and where you can improve.
- Send thank you notes. Thank each interviewer for their time and remind them of your qualifications and interest in the position.
- Keep moving. Even if you nail the interview, unpredictable things can happen. Get your next interview lined up as soon as you can. Worst-case scenario is you have to choose between offers.
- Work with a recruiter. The best way to find your next job is to partner with a recruiter who specializes in your field. They can find opportunities, put you in touch with the right people and ensure you go into the interview thoroughly prepared.