Interview Preparation Guidelines
1. Research the Employer before a Job Interview
Make sure to do your homework. Gather as much information about the employer as you can so you will appear informed and intelligent. We suggest visiting the employer’s website, searching for press releases online, and exploring LinkedIn and CrunchBase.
2. Dressing For a Job Interview
Appearance counts whether we like it or not. It’s the first thing people notice about us. You don’t want your appearance to take away from your performance or from what you can bring to the job. You should dress for the job you want, not the one you already have. For men we suggest dress pants (NO jeans), a clean pressed shirt and tie. For women, either dress pants with a blouse or skirt/dress. (NOT too short or revealing).
3. What to Bring
We expect the employer to have seen your resume, but ALWAYS have several copies of your resume with you, as well as a pad of paper and pen to take notes. We suggest putting everything into a portfolio to bring with you. You will come across as organized and professional.
4. Establish Rapport on a Job Interview
Your resume tells a prospective employer about the skills you will bring to his or her company. You obviously have those skills or you wouldn’t be going on the job interview. Now the interviewer must make sure you are a good fit for the job and company. You obviously want the interviewer to relate well to you. You must establish rapport with him or her. Doing that begins the instant you walk in the door. Let the interviewer set the tone and be ready to offer your hand for a strong handshake immediately.
5. Body Language
Body language gives more away about you than what you say. Making eye contact is very important but make sure it looks natural. A smiling, relaxed face is very inviting. Hands resting casually in your lap rather than arms folded across your chest also is more inviting. If you normally move your hands around a lot when you speak, tone it down some. You don’t want to look too stiff, but you don’t want to look like you’re a bundle of nervous energy.
6. Answering Interview Questions
When answering questions, speak slowly and clearly. Pause slightly before you answer a question. Your answers will seem less rehearsed and it will give you a chance to collect your thoughts. Keep in mind that a very brief pause may seem like an eternity to you. It’s not.
7. Asking Questions
The interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions so you should have some ready. As in every other aspect of the job search, you want to demonstrate how you can fill the employer’s needs. Ask about a typical day on the job or special projects you would be involved in. Also ask questions that will help you learn more about the employer and will let the interviewer know you are interested in working there. Use what you learned about the company through your research as a stepping off point. DON’T ask about salary, benefits, or vacations, as those all imply “what will you, the employer, do for me?”
8. Always, always, always send a Post-Interview Follow-up Note
Always send a thank you email as standard courtesy. This is good to leave a good impression and also to refresh the interviewer’s mind as to whom they interviewed. A thank you letter is also an opportunity to reiterate a strong point that you may not have emphasized enough during the interview or a response that you did not answer to your satisfaction.