Interviewing 101

By: Whitney Heinrichs

 

The Interview Process can be very intimidating. You only have a short period of time to sell yourself to a group of individuals who will determine your fate. Below are some tips that will help your interview run smoothly and hopefully assist in landing your dream Career Opportunity!

What should I wear?
Before you are able to say hello, your appearance is the first thing people will notice when you go to an interview. Do you want the person to enter the room excited to meet you or already have their mind made up that you are not a fit for the role? The way you dress is a reflection of who you are, how serious you are taking the interview, and if you are a professional. If you have a suit or access to one, wear it! If you do not and you are a male, wear a nice pair of dark dress pants, a dress shirt (one tone) and a tie. For females, a pair of dark dress pants or a pencil skirt (no higher than the knees) will do the trick along with a button-up blouse or dress shirt. Remember, you want the interviewer’s attention geared towards your face and what you are saying, not at what you are wearing. Therefore, please dress conservatively, do not wear a lot of jewelry, go light on the makeup, and do not wear any perfume or cologne.

What do I do with my hands?
Let’s face it, most people are nervous or uncomfortable in an interview. When you normally communicate with individuals, you do not think about your body language and how to react…it comes natural! When you are interviewing, you are extremely aware of your body language which can be very distracting! Here are some tips to help you get comfortable.

  • When you meet the interviewer, stand up and firmly shake the interviewer’s hand, along with looking them in the eyes and saying something along the lines of, “It is very nice to meet you.” After the introductions, slide a copy of your resume to the interviewer, even if they already have one. Once you’ve done this, put your hands in your lap or folded at the edge of the table. By folding your hands in your lap or on the table, this will prevent you from fidgeting while you’re talking, which can be very distracting!
  • Be energetic. The interviewer wants interaction and a business conversation. So remember to smile while you are interviewing, shake your head when you agree with a statement, and look the person in the eyes! They are a regular person just like you, so relax and be yourself.

Tone is everything
You are not a robot, so do not sound like one when you are interviewing. The interviewer is looking for someone they can connect with. If you are monotone in the interview, it is going to make it difficult for the interviewer to talk to you. Just relax, talk normal, and put some excitement in your voice!

Know your resume
Most likely the interviewer is going to review your resume and discuss your previous responsibilities and achievements. When they ask you to tell them about a particular role or responsibility, please do not reference your resume or read it. The resume is for the interviewer; you are the person who held the position and performed the responsibilities, so you should not need to review your resume.

Know the job you are interviewing for
A common question asked in an interview is about the position, for example, what is your impression about this position and why do you think you are a good fit for this role? The Interviewer is testing you! Make sure you know the title and the details of the position. You want to know as much about the role and what is important to the company, so you can portray yourself as invested and interested in the role.

Your turn to conduct the interview
One thing people seem to forget when they are interviewing is you need to interview the company and manager as well – it’s a two-way street. Before you go to the interview, reflect on your previous positions. What made you happy there? What did you want to change? What environment did you like the best? Which was your favorite role and why? What management style did you thrive in? By answering these questions, it should help you figure out what you are looking for in a company, manager, and culture! With that said, prepare some questions to ask the interviewer regarding their culture, management style, and the position as a whole. Should you be offered the role, you need to be confident this is an opportunity that is going to better your life. So make sure you ask the necessary questions to determine this.

Stay on track
Warning! Do not engage in personal or social discussions unless the interviewer initiates the discussion. The last thing you want to do is shoot yourself in the foot due to a comment you made on a personal note. You are there to talk about your abilities, why you would be a great addition to the team and organization, and to learn more about the organization and the position as a whole. If the conversation drifts off to a more relaxed and personal one, still seem engaged, but keep your answers and statements politically correct, do not push any personal or political views on the person, and please make sure not to air any of your dirty laundry!

Details, Details and more Details
Do not let your nerves get the best of you. Make sure you are engaging and at ease in the conversation. The worst aspect for an interviewer is meeting with someone who is extremely brief in their responses —it feels like they are “pulling you’re teeth” in order to get an answer from you. Make sure you are detailed in your answers and statements.  If you find the interviewer is digging or asking numerous follow up questions, it is most likely because you are not giving them enough details. With that said, you also need to be aware of the fine line of being too detailed and just right. If you see yourself going longer than a minute to answer questions or the interviewer is cutting you off, then shorten your answers a little. Your goal is to walk away from the interview knowing you gave the interviewer a lot of information to think about afterwards.

Show your confidence
Last but not least, be confident! Most likely you have preformed in a role along the lines of the one you are interviewing for. Make it known! Share some accomplishments you have achieved in each role and why you would be a positive addition to the company. Remember, they chose to interview you for a reason, so do not enter the interview doubting your abilities and who you are.

There are a lot of things to be aware of during an interview. The most important thing is to be yourself! Take some time to practice in the mirror or with a family member or friend.  Remember, the more you prepare the more confident you will be.

Good luck!

 

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