While many of us may not
think of job interviews as a presentation, it may be the first presentation
we ever make. It may also be the most critical. With a job interview we are
there to "sell ourselves" not just ideas. First impressions are extremely important
and like presentations we should properly prepare ourselves for the interview.
Below are the 5 stages of
the Interviewing Process I recommend you use when preparing for your interview:
- Preparation -
Learn as much about the company as you can before your interview. Find out
what they do, what they make, and what kind of services they provide and determine
if your skills can fit with what they do. Determine what you can offer the
company. Arrange and confirm the time for your interview. Make sure you arrive
early. Don't be late. Ask for directions when you confirm your appointment,
if needed. Make a list of what questions you may want to ask them. More importantly,
make a list of those questions you anticipate they might ask you and decide
how you will answer these questions. You then are prepared how to answer them.
- Introduction -
Make sure your initial non-verbal contact is positive. For example, smile
when you first see the person interviewing you. Have a firm handshake and
establish good eye contact when talking. You be the one to start off the conversation.
Go prepared with your list of specific questions to ask them about the job
and the company. Don't forget to bring the questions with you.
- When asked questions always listen to their questions carefully. If you
don't understand any question, ask them to clarify the question. If you do
not know the answer to the question be honest and say so but do offer to get
back to them with the answer later and DO GET back to them.
- Obtain Information
for Yourself - Remember, this job interview is for your benefit also.
Ask questions about the actual job requirements, benefits and type of work
that you will be expected to do. Determine if the job will fit in with your
educational background and career goals. (Have you written down your career
goals?). Be prepared to take notes during the interview. This "shows" you
came prepared. Write down all the names of the people you meet and their position.
Be active in the interview process. Don't just sit there and not ask any questions.
- The Final Stage
- Write down all the reasons for the company to hire you. Ask if your background
matches what the company is looking for. Ask is they are interviewing other
people for the same position and when can you expect a decision. Ask if the
interviewer wants you can call later for an update. Also, ask how long it
will take before they will make a decision. Don't forget to follow up with
a phone call or a thank you note. Clearly tell them you are interested if
you are BEFORE you leave the interview.
For a more comprehensive
guide to the interviewing process, order our booklet, "The Interviewing Process".
You can order this booklet on-line through our convenient on-line
catalog. This guide will provide you with the questions you should know
the answers to and the questions you should ask. A helpful follow up checklist
is also provided.