Interviewing tips

Once a potential employer contacts you to schedule an interview, you know that he/she believes the skills and experience you included in your resume could qualify you for their job opening. The interview allows both you and the prospective employer the opportunity to determine whether you could succeed in the position. It means you have made it through the first round of elimination.

How you handle yourself before, during and after the interview will have a critical impact on whether or not they finally offer you the job. Proper preparation could determine if you make it through the second round of elimination.

Remember that from the moment you answer the phone, your interview has already begun. Your choice of words and tone of voice will already begin to create an impression about you in the prospective employer’s mind. If they offer an interview date and time within 24-48 hours, but you feel you need additional time to prepare for the interview, you can say you already have a commitment at that time and then suggest the same time a day or two later. This way you can research specific company information and gather important data that will impress the person who interviews you. Don’t make scheduling an interview difficult though. It will not count in your favor if you frustrate a potential employer by introducing complications at this stage.

Always make sure that you have plenty of time to get to the interview without rushing. Arriving on time or a few minutes early for your interview demonstrates professionalism and shows the potential employer that you respect his/her time. Whether you use public transportation or your own vehicle to get to the interview location, allow plenty of time for unforeseen delays like traffic, schedule setbacks or getting lost. Remember you only have one chance to make a good first impression—make the most of it by arriving on time.

A job interview helps both you and prospective employers explore whether or not your skills and experience, as well as your personality, are a fit for the position they have available. They have contacted you for an interview, so they obviously think you might have what it takes to fill that role. At the interview, they want to determine if they still think so after meeting you in person. That means they will ask questions that will help them decide your chance for success in that position and in their company.

They will evaluate your appearance and grooming, your energy and enthusiasm, your skills and experience, your confidence and potential, and then they will try to determine if that whole package fits the role they need to fill.

Don’t let it surprise you if when you arrive, you are asked to complete a standard application form. This gives the company the same basic information from all the applicants since resumes come in so many different formats and therefore provide less standardized information. Fill out the form as efficiently and neatly as possible, using the resume you brought with you as a resource to fill in information and dates that you might not readily know.

Prospective employers and human resource employees look for confidence, eye contact, enthusiasm and interest. They look for non-verbal cues that indicate your compatibility, and details that communicate to them how much time and effort you have put into preparing for the interview.

Once you have an interview scheduled, do everything you can to research the company. Resources include the public library (newspaper and magazine articles, reference books), the internet and anyone you may know who works (or previously worked) for that company. The more you know about the company, the more carefully you can tailor your qualifications to match their business profile.

Interviewing skills improve with practice, so rehearse in front of the mirror or with a friend or family member until you become more comfortable with discussing your skills and accomplishments, and answering questions. Consider your tone of voice, delivery, body language, mannerisms, poise and enthusiasm.

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