Worried about your upcoming interview? Stress no more! Here are key tips you shouldn’t miss for before, during and after your important interview.
Do your research.
Learn about the company/organization’s mission and values. Reviewing important information about your potential company’s key business strategies and how the organization operates will give you confidence going into the interview.
Review some common questions. Although every interview can be different, here are some common questions that can be asked across the board (2):
Q: Why Do You Want This Job?
A: What they are looking for here is how much you know about the company, and how you could be a good fit for the role you are applying for. What about you fits the company culture, mission, and values? Be sure to mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you the most, and do your research beforehand.
Q: Why Should We Hire You?
A: This is where you show your confidence in why YOU are best suited for the position. They want to see if you have all of the required qualifications, and if you are the right applicant to be hired. Mention any strengths you have, and you can outline areas where you might want extra training as well. Being authentic is always a surest way to not only impress employers, but also land the job is the truest fit to you. See below for more details.
Q: What is your greatest strength/weakness?
A: Strengths- Here it is important to discuss all the attributes that qualify you for the job (this can be past experience, personality traits, etc.). Weaknesses- This is a great opportunity to discuss examples of skills you have improved, giving specific instances to where you have recognized your deficits and have taken steps to correct them. Honesty and self reflection are also important attributes many interviewers look for in their candidates. A great example of this could be, “A weakness of mine is that I tend to spread myself out too thin. I always strive to make others happy and never want to let anyone down, so it is very hard for me to say no. I realized that this was a weakness when I put so much onto my plate, that I was unable to do each task to the best of my ability. So, I have learned that when I have too much on my plate, it is okay to say no or work with that person to come to a better conclusion so that I can fulfill the task at a later date.”
Want to see more examples? Click here.
Be timely. Whether this be an in person interview, or on a zoom meeting, make sure that you are early. 10-15 minutes early if you are in person, and at least 5 minutes if you are meeting on a video call. (Set up the video platform and link 10 minutes prior to avoid technical complications).
Have copies of your resume, pen and notebook. Indeed says to bring at least 5 copies of your resume, in case of multiple interviewers. Bring the pen and notebook and be prepared to write notes, this looks much better than typing it on a smartphone. Also, writing information down can help when you need things to refer to back in a thank you note or follow-up email after the interview. Never forget to write a thank you note or email note.
Exhibit confidence. It can be very intimidating to speak to potential employers, however, don’t let this make you anxious. Take deep breaths and speak slowly yet calmly; doing this as well as making eye contact will make you appear more confident (1).
Keep answers focused and succinct. You have limited time within your interview, so avoid rambling and get right to the point. Less is more.
No negativity. Do not speak negatively about past employees or employers- interviewers are looking for problems solvers not potential problem makers. In this case it can come across that problems were not handled properly, if you’re currently in a tough work situation speak on how you have grown from the experience and not the grievances of it.
Good manners and body language. Sit tall with your shoulders back; make confident eye contact and smile. Saying simple things such as “yes ma’am/sir” and “(no) thank you” will be more effective than you realize. (3)
Ask what the next steps will be. After the interview, it’s advised to ask your interviewer what you should expect next. This in turn will likely be results from the interview, additional requirements or another contact information for a secondary interview.
Writing the follow up email. Make sure to ask for a business card or contact to follow up with after the interview. Your follow up email should be sent no later than a day after the meeting. Indeed states if you had the meeting in the morning, be sure to send the follow up by the afternoon. If it was in the afternoon, then sending one the next morning is fine as well.
This letter is a thank you email. Make sure to use your notes from the conversation to make it stand out from other candidates. Here is a general structure to follow:
Subject- “Thank you for your time”
Dear Mrs./Mr. ___________,
Open your fist paragraph with a thank you. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to meet with me about the (specific job). It was wonderful to meet with you and learn more about the position.
Talk about your interests and goals. I am very excited to join the (organization) and was particularly interested in the details you shared about the (upcoming happenings within the company). I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to take on a part of the project and bring my experience to the table.
Set yourself apart. I am confident that my experience and background will enable me to do these job requirements not only effectively but help the company grow. Please contact me if you need me to provide you with any further information.
Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you!
Signature and contact information.
These are just a few tips on how to ace the interview. If you have any questions, or concerns click here to book a free 30 minute consultation with clinician, Danielle Feerst, OTR/L. In addition, you can connect with us on our Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Written by Caroline Campione, Summer 2020 Intern
(1) American Psychological Association: First Impressions Count. 2020. https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2012/11/first-impressions
(2) The Balance Careers: Interview Questions. 2020. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-interview-questions-and-best-answers-2061225