WRITTEN BY: BRANDI PROCHAZKA
We have all been there – that feeling of being excited and nervous, hands sweating, and not really sure what to expect. Everyone’s first interview is always a nerve-wracking experience. You have to go to a new location and meet with a total stranger to show them how great you are! It is challenging to know how to get ready for that future interview, but with proper preparation, anyone can master the situation and obtain that perfect job!
By knowing what to do at each step in the interview process, anyone can guarantee to stand out among the large pool of applications for any position:
Stage One: Pre-Interview
This stage is about the prep work needed to make yourself shine. By preparing before the interview, you should experience less stress in the actual interview. First, make sure your resume is up to date, looking sharp, and has all relevant information for the position on it. Now, print a few copies just to be safe. Next, check out the company’s website. It is important to know what they do and any details about the position! Take notes! As you are doing your research write down questions to ask in the interview. If you have the information ahead of time, look up the person who you are interviewing with and learn their past experiences as well.
Stage Two: During Interview
You have made it. Today is the day! Put on your clean dress clothes and head on out to your interview. My dad always said, “Dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have.” I always wear a suit no matter the position I am interviewing for! A good rule of thumb regarding time is to be 15 minutes early. This will show the company right away that you care about their time.
Once you have got to the interview, remember it is just a conversation! The recruiter wants to get to know you better and there is no reason to be nervous. This may be the 30-60 minutes that you have to sell yourself to the company, so put your best foot forward. Keep strong eye contact and smile as much as possible. A personable individual is always easier to interact with.
When the questions start to come, make sure you are giving direct, specific examples. Anyone can say that they are hardworking, but you want to stand out! Tell a story; “I am an extremely hardworking individual because at my time with company x, we had a very important order for a customer that was imputed incorrectly. Because I chose to stay late after work to go through and redo the order, which took an additional 3 hours, I was able to ensure that the customer would receive their purchase on time with no complications. They still come back order after order because of the great customer service they received!”
Make sure to ask those questions at the end of the interview. By asking questions, you are showing the interviewer that you truly are interested in their position and you are engaged in the interview.
An interview is all about making yourself stand out. This is the only opportunity you will get to impress the interviewer. Time and time again I receive terrific resumes full of amazing accomplishments, but when it comes time to interview, I have a completely different person in front of me. If you can’t put life into your work on your resume, it holds minimum value. Remember, this is all about you!
Stage Three: Post-Interview
Alright, you have made it through the hard part. The interview is over. Now what? You don’t want to disappear into the pile of other resumes. Send a follow-up! During the interview, make sure to get every person’s contact information that you speak with. Ask for those business cards! Once you get home, write up a thank-you letter to show your gratitude for the opportunity.
This is also a great time to remind the interviewer of all of the reasons they should hire you! If you were asked to complete a follow up task, complete it IMMEDIATELY after the interview. If you are given three days to complete a task, this will show your work ethic if offered the job. Do you turn things in right away or wait till the last minute?
So now that you are knowledgeable on basic interview etiquette, it is time! Apply for that dream job, and don’t be afraid of that first interview experience because you will do terrific! Interviewing is a skill that everyone needs, and it takes time, so practice a lot and remember it is your chance to shine!