Understanding that interviewing is a skill, and as with all skills, preparation and practice enhance the quality of that skill. And, preparing for a job interview can certainly be stressful, as there are so many factors beyond your control. But there is one thing you can control that can make all the difference, and that is how prepared you are on the big day. Preparation can make the difference between getting an offer and getting rejected. There is no one “best” way to prepare for an interview. Rather, there are specific and important strategies to enhance one’s chances for interview success.
Here are a few Strategies to Enhance Your Interview Success:
Printed Directions: Don’t risk a technology malfunction by relying solely on your smart phone or lap top for directions. Whether you’re taking a car, train, subway, or bus, it is always wise to print out a hard copy of the directions as a backup. And, if possible, take a test drive to the organization you plan to interview with a day or so you can better judge the distance of your commute.
Hard Copies of your résumé: Despite the transition from the traditional paper résumé to more dynamic social-media templates, such as LinkedIn, many hiring managers still expect candidates to arrive with a few hard copies. Not only will it be helpful to reference during the interview, but will also help the hiring manager be better able to discuss your qualifications with a hard copy in hand. And, you want the answer to be “yes” when asked – “may I see a copy of your resume?”
Take Notes: Always come to an interview with pen and paper in hand. It will be extremely helpful to take notes during the interview, and will come in handy as you write your post interview thank-you notes after the interview. However, remember to listen carefully and not get too distracted by your note-taking.
Do Your Homework, and Ask Questions: Remember, you are not the only one being interviewed on the big day. In nearly every interview you will have the chance to ask your own questions. Use this part of the interview to your advantage. Ask smart questions to display your knowledge of the organization from having done your homework about them, and how you will be a perfect match for the position. Recruiters and hiring managers recommend having a few written down ahead of time rather than having to come up with them on the spot.
Bring Your Winning Attitude: The most important thing to bring to any interview is a positive attitude. Confidence, competence, and a genuine interest in the position and the company will set you apart from the other candidates. While you may share the same skill sets with other applicants, the only thing that will set you apart is your attitude and disposition.
Always Follow-Up with A Thank You: One of the most important tools when interviewing – comes after the interview. Always send a thank-you note within 24-48 hours of your interview. Send one to every person who interviewed you. Email is OK, but follow protocols for formal business correspondence, which is always more formal than typical email. Use the thank you note to reiterate your interest and to emphasize your specific qualifications for the position.
Possibly the biggest mistake in interviewing is not being fully prepared, and you can never be “too prepared”. It will greatly benefit job-seekers to use every conceivable means possible to prepare for the interview – in advance – to land that perfect job!.