A job interview is a meeting of the minds. It is a formal conversation to gain an understanding about whether you will be a candidate for a vacant position. There are 10 key rules you should address during your preparation and in the actual interview.
- Research. Conduct exhaustive research before entering the interview, to gain a deep understanding of the corporation’s history and its current status in the defined marketplace. A good forum for research is to connect and interact with the company’s past employees, who can spill the beans and will tell you the truth.
- Prepare. Take steps to eradicate those nerves that we all have in high-stakes situations like these, so you can feel confident in your poise and delivery. Bring additional copies of your resume, along with a list of your references.
- Look the part. First impressions count. We make an immediate assumption about a new person within a few short seconds. Don’t dress sloppily; dress appropriately for the industry and job title. Capture your audience’s attention for the right reasons.
- Give a firm handshake. Be confident in your approach. Don’t squeeze the hand too forcefully, but don’t be a limp fish Always look the other person in the eye. (Here are more handshake tips.)
- Be on time. What impression do you send if you are late for a job interview? There should be no excuse for being late. If you don’t know the location of the interviewing facility, do a dry run at the same time the day before so you know how long it will take you to travel. Schedule to arrive 10 minutes early to calm your nerves and get used to the surroundings.
- Listen intently to the questions you’re asked. It’s okay to take a few seconds to process your thoughts and devise your answer. Never be frightened to ask for clarification. Read between the lines and take note of the interviewer’s body language and gestures. Sometimes what is not said is just as important as what is said.
- Be clear and confident in your delivery. Show your enthusiasm without being too excited, and use of variety of inflections in your voice to highlight key parts of your answer.
- Give STAR stories. These are real examples that elicit intrigue from the interviewer. Demonstrating your commitment to deliver an accomplishment or successfully fulfill a responsibility will bring value to the interview.
- Close strong. At the signal of the interviewer, end the interview with another firm handshake, a smile, and a look in the eye. Thank them for their time, and ask for a business card.
- Follow up. Always, without fail, rapidly after the interview, mail a hand-written thank you note. In your note, emphasize your 100% candidacy for that position and your readiness to accept the job. This gesture alone can advance your standing. How many times have you received a handwritten thank you note?
I urge you to invest the time and effort to master these interview skills. You have already traversed through blood, sweat and tears in conducting your job search. Don’t waste this valuable opportunity to close the deal.