You’ve spent several weeks searching for jobs and sending your resume to potential employers when suddenly the phone rings. It’s an employer calling you for an interview. Before you stress yourself out, here are four interview tips to get ready for the big day.
1. Prepare – Research the company and be sure you know what they do. Have they won any awards recently or been mentioned in the news? Bring several copies of your resume and have references available. Bring a pen and note pad so you can take notes. You should also have a list of questions to ask the hiring manager.
2. Relax – Hiring managers want to get to know you. They don’t necessarily care that you play in a softball league or like to golf, but they want to know what makes you unique. Tell the interviewer about any work related interests, relevant experience and accomplishments and what you enjoy most about your career.
3. How do you fit in – This is where being prepared is useful. Hiring managers like talking to candidates who’ve invested time in getting to know the company. For example, I once interviewed with a company that had been acquired by a competitor. As part of that acquisition, the company announced plans to renovate their current location as well as expand by building a second facility. I mentioned to the hiring manager that I saw that information in the news and then the hiring manager talked for almost 15 minutes about the impact it was having on the company – both good and bad. By doing my research on the company beforehand, I was able to get the hiring manager to open up and reveal more information about the company than they planned. By listening to the hiring manager, I was able to demonstrate how my work accomplishments and strengths tie into what the company is looking for. Don’t ask simple questions that can be answered with a yes or no. Ask open ended questions that will get the hiring manager to open up.
4. Follow up with the hiring manager – After you interview for a position, you need to follow up with a thank you letter or email. Remember that pen and note pad I mentioned earlier? This is when to use the notes you took to your advantage. To make yourself stand out, be sure to share what you learned from the interview and how you can make an immediate impact. This shows the hiring manager that you paid attention to details and are genuinely interested in the opportunity.
When job seekers understand what hiring managers expect in an interview, it can makes things run more smoothly and work in your favor. Always remember to do your research on the employer, have relevant experience/accomplishment stories and ask thoughtful questions. By following these four simple interview tips, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to help the hiring manager make a better decision and hopefully choose you for the position.