You’ve written the ever-dreaded résumé, and now you’re facing something just as intimidating: the job interview.
The interview process is where both applicant and company determine if they are well-suited to each other. While it may seem intimidating, the interview is an essential step in getting a job that is a good fit for you.
But what are the keys to a good interviewing experience? Here are a few tips.
1. Do Your Due Diligence: Look into the company that you’re interviewing for. Know what its mission is, what its product is, how it operates. Do not just look at the company’s website—see what else you can find. When the time for the interview comes, you want to be able to show that you know what the company is about.
2. Practice: Run a mock interview. Look up common interview questions and practice answering them out loud. Prepare stories that show why you are a good candidate and that can be adapted for different questions. However, while it is important to be familiar with your answers and stories, do not try to memorize them. You still want your responses to be genuine.
3. Come Prepared: Bring several extra copies of your résumé to offer to the interviewer if necessary. If you have a list of references, bring that as well. Bring a notepad and pen to take notes during the interview—do not take notes on your phone.
4. Make the Right Impression: As the saying goes, you only get one chance at a first impression, so make the most of it. Show up 10–15 minutes early. Dress appropriately. Make eye contact. Smile. Be confident in yourself. Keep your cell phone off and put away.
5. Optimize Answers: You want to keep your answers concise but thorough, a difficult balance. Remember that you want your answers to honestly reflect what would make you a good candidate for the specific position you are being interviewed for. When answering questions with a story, remember STAR:
• Situation: Quickly lay out the scenario so that your interviewer will understand the stakes.
• Task: Explain your role in the situation.
• Action: Tell what you did and why.
• Result: Relate the outcome and, if applicable, what you learned from the experience.
6. Ask Smart Questions: Most interviewers will ask if you have any questions. Use this time wisely! Asking questions will show that you are genuinely interested and will help you determine if it’s a position you really want. Consider the following questions.
• What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
• How would performance be measured?
• Could you describe what you think someone would need to be able to excel in this position?
7. Follow Up: Follow up the interview with a thank-you note within the first 24 hours—if it’s a morning interview, the day of is preferred, but if it’s an afternoon interview, the next morning works. Keep the note short and concise.
Follow up a week later if you have not heard back. Do not be demanding; a simple “I just wanted to check in on the job posting” will suffice.
The interview process is a far from easy one, but it is one that, with proper preparation, you can handle with ease and confidence. Your dream job might just be an interview away!
Henderson, Robert. “19 Job Interview Tips That Will Get You Hired in 2023.” Jobscan, January 30, 2023. https://www.jobscan.co/job-interview-tips.
Herrity, Jennifer. “How to Make a Great Impression in a Job Interview: 20 Tips.” Indeed, March 29, 2023. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/job-interview-tips-how-to-make-a-great-impression.
“Interview Tips.” US Department Of Labor, n.d. https://www.dol.gov/general/jobs/interview-tips.
The Muse Editors. “Your Ultimate Interview Prep Guide.” The Muse, May 1, 2023. https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-ultimate-interview-guide-30-prep-tips-for-job-interview-success.