The interview is the opportunity to articulate your skills, accomplishments and abilities as they relate to the position you applied for. Preparation, practice and research are a vital component to nailing your interview.
Steps to Interviewing
As with anything there are steps to successfully nailing your interview and moving on to the next level. Although, everyone has a style, these are the basic things you should know before, during, and after your interview.
Before the interview
Once you have landed the interview, preparation is key. All interviews are not created equal but they do tend to follow a similar format of introductions, questions and answers, and a conversation to end the interview.
Types of interviews
The most common types of interview include:
|Interviewer will have a focused agenda a specific questions to ask.
|Interviewer will ask more board questions. It is up to the candidate to provide more details on their qualifications.
||This interview includes several candidates at one time. This shows the potential employer how candidates interact with a team
It is very important to research the company you are interviewing for. Interviewers may ask you what you know about the company and at times may detect your level of knowledge of the company based on your answers.
Make sure to visit the company website and look at the Mission, the Organizational Structure of the company, Current News, Current Trends that could affect the company, etc.
1st impressions are lasting impressions. Make sure to get the correct address to the location of the interview. If you are unfamiliar with the location, do a test run a few days before your interview. Travel during the time you normally would be going to the interview.
And be on time. This means arriving to the interview location at 10 - 15 minutes prior to the interview.
What to Bring
Bring plenty of copies of your resume. Carry them a professional looking portfolio or folder. Make sure to also have a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer(s).
What to Wear
Dress to impress a potential employer. It is highly recommended that you always wear a suit regardless of the position you are going for. Check out these videos and other resources on dressing for the interview:
Interview Dress For Women
Interview Dress For Men
Additional Resources for Dressing for the Interview
During the interview
While in the interview may sure to make eye contact and articulate your answers. If this is an area you struggle with, practice with a friend or family member. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Typical Questions asked in an Interview
Interviewers will ask different questions depending on the type or interview, technical, functional, managerial, etc. But there are a few common questions that tend to come up in almost every interview.
Be prepared to answer these questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What interests you about this opening? (Here's how to answer, "Why do you want to work here?")
- What do you know about our company so far?
- Why did you leave your last job? (Or why are you thinking about leaving your current job?)
- Tell me about your experience at [your last job].
- What experience do you have managing [various responsibilities]?
- Tell me about your strengths. (If asked the opposite, here's how to describe your weaknesses in an interview.)
- Tell me about a time when … (These will be situations relevant to the position. For instance: Tell me about when you had to take initiative … you had to deal with a difficult customer … you had to respond to a crisis … you had to give difficult feedback to an employee … You get the idea.)
- What salary range are you looking for?
- What questions do you have for me? (Here are the smartest interview questions you could ask.)
Scenario Based Questions
Some employers will ask you questions that will be based on your past experiences. When answering these question, use the STAR method:
Situation - Describe the problem. How it arose? What was your role in fixing the situation?
Tasks - Briefly describe what you did to rectify the problem
Actions - Explain the actions that took to solve the problem.
Results - Describe the outcome based on your actions with the situation.
10 Tips for a Successful Interview
Follow these tips along with those above for a successful interview:
- Shake hands firmly with the interviewer
- Don't waffle; answer the question promptly. If you need a minute to catch your thoughts, let the interviewer know.
- Be positive, smile, and be yourself. The interviewer wants to get to know you and see how you will fit in with the team.
- Listen and don't interrupt the interviewer.
- Remember to control your body language. Sit up straight and try to control your nervous habits.
- Quantify the details of your answers where possible. (Trained over 30 employees...)
- Avoid fillers such as 'um' and 'like' (Join WSC Toastmasters group to help with this!)
- Ask questions if you are unclear about something.
- Briefly discuss and make sure you understand the next steps and request a business card.
- Expect the unexpected. Try to appear relaxed and in control if something is asked that you weren't expected. This is a way for the interviewer to see how you react under pressure.
After the interview
The most important action after an interview is following up with the employer to thank them. The follow up should be brief, sent within 24 hours of the interview and can be an email or note in the mail. It should:
- Reiterate your interest in the position.
- Express appreciation for the opportunity to speak with the interviewer(s).
- Clarify or highlight additional information that explains why you’re a good fit for the position.
- Mention something specific from the interview that caught your attention or impressed you.
- Ask questions or indicate your understanding of the next steps.
Document the pros and cons of the interview. This list can serve as a guide to prepare for the next interview.
Join the Interviewing Forum and hear what fellow members have to say.
Additional Resources for Interviewing tips and techniques