Most job-seekers agree that the interview is the best—and worst—part of the search process. Many hiring decisions hinge on a candidate’s interview, so it can be a lot of pressure!
You probably already know to dress professionally and arrive on time. But what else should you do to prepare for your job interview?
DMD & Associates offers five pre-interview tips below, along with action steps for each tip. Once you complete these action steps, you’ll be well on your way to acing your next interview.
1. Do your homework. Chances are, if you wrote a cover letter good enough to merit an interview, you’ve researched your new prospective employer. Now is your chance to dig a little deeper. What are some things that genuinely interest you about the company? What challenges did the last person who held the position face? Knowing more about the company and position for which you’re interviewing will not only make you a more dedicated candidate, it will help you ask the right questions so both you and your interviewer can make an informed decision.
Action step: Come up with a list of five thoughtful questions to ask your interviewer.
2. Be positive. During your interview, your future employer will want to know why you’re looking for a new position. This is not the time to speak ill of your previous employer! If you left on good terms, make that clear. If you were fired or laid off, be honest about why. Keep it brief, and move on.
Action step: Write down what you will say when asked about your previous job. Practice saying it without trailing off, shrugging, or looking away.
3. See yourself winning. Visualization is a powerful tool. Though it’s tempting to play out worst-case interview scenarios in your head, try to imagine your interview going perfectly. Scientific evidence supports the power of positive visualization across a number of career fields and applications. Put it to work for yourself! If you don’t have much of an imagination, take an index card and write down a positive mantra or goal: something like, “I am calm, confident and completely prepared.” Read the card whenever you feel stress overtaking you.
Action steps: Spend 10 to 15 minutes on the day of your interview visualizing yourself doing a great job; create positive mantra card.
4. Take notes. Jotting down notes during your interview is a good way to show that you are taking the process seriously, and displays your work ethic to your interviewer. You’ll also have a handy record of important points touched on during the interview.
Action step: If you are not in the habit of taking notes, do a practice run during a conversation with a friend. The most effective notes are not full sentences; they include key words and phrases and bullet points encompassing important information.
5. Convey your enthusiasm. You’re interested in this job because it’s a career opportunity—so don’t mumble through the interview! Show your interest through eye contact with your interviewer, and speak in an upbeat tone of voice. Your handshakes at the beginning and end of your interview will also help whoever interviews you to gauge your interest. Instead of squeezing too tightly or not at all, just match the strength of your interviewer’s grip.
Action step: Practice speaking about subjects that interest you or in which you’re knowledgeable. Notice how easy it is to speak clearly and confidently about things you know. Apply this feeling to your interview answers!
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