An effective interview is a two-way street of open communication between you and your potential employer. The interview is your opportunity to present your qualifications for the position in considerable detail and to ask questions about the position to determine your interest.
Overall, you should focus on presenting yourself as enthusiastic, capable, and prepared. Your appearance should be professional, but not stiff – try to relax as much as possible. Act in a polite but assertive manner, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most important of all, take the time to prepare yourself before you arrive, so that you are able to focus on building a rapport with your interviewer. For more in-depth information, attend one of our no-cost workshops.
Preparing for the Interview
- Research the person, company, job description and interview location.
- Make a list of questions you’d like to ask the employer in reference to the job, company culture, etc.
- Practice your response to answers out loud and with other people.
- Prepare extra copies of your résumé and your list of professional references.
- Research company dress code and prepare interview attire. Avoid large jewelry and makeup, perfume/cologne, torn clothing and chewing gum. If you’re not sure what the dress code is a good rule of thumb is to dress up one or two levels above how you perceive the company’s culture and dress code.
During the Interview
- Greet with a smile and a friendly, firm handshake.
- Listen to the interviewer’s questions, and if needed, ask him/her to restate the question.
- Pause and think before answering.
- Be brief and respond in a factual way.
- Focus on what is really being asked.
- Never lie, exaggerate, or overstate.
- Be yourself.
- Ask questions to show interest in the company, and clarify anything about the position.
- As the interview comes to a close, take a moment to reconnect with your interviewer.
- Be gracious and thank him or her for their time.
- Ask for a business card and leave one of your own if you have one.
- As you leave the building, take the time to say thank you to the interviewer, receptionist, and anyone else with whom you’ve met.
Following the Interview
- Send a considerate thank-you note within 2 business days to each individual with whom you interviewed, reaffirming your interest in and qualifications for the position, and stating your appreciation for their interest in you as a candidate.
- Follow up with any additional information that the employer may have asked you to provide.