Ten Tips for a Successful Interview

So you’ve landed a job interview – congratulations! But landing an interview and landing a job are different. To get the job, you need to nail the interview, especially given current rates of competition.

Here are ten tips for a successful job interview.

1. Do Your Research

It’s going to be pretty obvious if you haven’t read up on the company you’re interviewing with. When you go in, it’s important to know who the CEO is (or the head manager, or whoever is in charge). You should also familiarize yourself with the company’s history and its major competitors. Find out what the company’s vision or mission is, and familiarize yourself with it. The best place to start is with the company’s website. It should have that basic information.

2. Open Up a Little

Of course, you don’t want to dominate the conversation or be too personal, but it’s not a bad idea to open up and share some personal experiences that are relevant to the prospective job. It should be a story that highlights your accomplishments and areas of expertise.

3. Gather Contact Information

When you are at your interview, get the contact information for those who interviewed you so you can follow up with a thank-you note (see point 10 below). Gather business cards or carry a notebook to get names and addresses.

4. Appearance

A whole article could be written on dressing for success at an interview, but a few quick tips include: don’t chew gum, wear clothing that is appropriate to the job, and go light on perfume or cologne.

5. Actively Listen

Listen to what your interviewers are saying. Actively participate in the conversation, because an interview is just that – a conversation. They want to find out about you, but one of the things they will like to find out is that you are a good listener!

6. No Complaining

Even if you had a rotten experience in your past job, complaining about your past employer is an interview no-no. Prospective employers want to hire someone who is ready to move forward and who is mature enough not to automatically blame others.

7. Be on Time!

Nothing gets an interview off to a bad start like the interviewee being late. In fact, prospective employers have been known to cancel an interview if a person is late. So make sure you’re on time, and allow extra time for traffic and other unforeseen delays. Better to arrive early and have to kill time before going in than to arrive late.

8. Have Your Paperwork Ready

Having your resume, references, planner, and pen ready shows preparedness. It shows that you’ve thought this interview through and are ready.

9. Talk to Yourself before the Interview

For a few days before the interview, practice in front of a mirror or video camera. Ask yourself questions that are often asked during interviews, and prepare your answers. Study your facial expressions and voice inflections. A web cam is ideal for this.

10. Follow-up with a Thank-You Note

After the interview, following up with a thank-you note is polite and courteous. These days, a thank-you email may be preferred. Just follow through using whatever means your employer is most comfortable with.

Although all of these tips are great, make sure you are yourself – after all, if you’re faking it in the interview to get the job, you’ll get exhausted trying to keep up appearances after you’re hired!

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