Whether this is your first interview in 5 years, or the tenth one this month, interviewing for a new job can give any qualified candidate anxiety. From pre-interview prep, to closing the meeting, here are a few tips that will help reduce your anxiety and help you secure an offer.
1. Research the Company
The internet is a wonderful place filled with many free resources. Now is the time to utilize this tool. The company you are interviewing for will most likely have an online footprint, and you should follow those tracks in any direction they travel. Look through their “About Us” page, follow all of their social media profiles, and read/watch any interviews that their CEO may have given. Learning about the company and what they stand for will help you align your own values with theirs and help you visualize where you will fit in.
2. Be a Matchmaker
Remember, it’s what “you can do for the company” not “what the company can do for you”. Print out a copy of the Job Description and your resume and start playing matchmaker. Highlight any pertinent information on your resume that the company is looking for on their job description. The client will be pleased to know that you are thinking of the company’s needs, rather than your own.
3. Your Background – Backward & Forward
You are the one who can explain your experience best. Learn how to maneuver your way through your background as effectively and as efficiently as possible. Keep your transitions brief and positive. Turn any negative experiences you had in the past into constructive learning moments. Your answers shouldn’t take longer than one or two seconds. It can be fun to talk about your accomplishments, but it can easily be the place where the potential employer quickly loses interest.
4. Ask Questions
Like in step 2, it is crucial to remember what the first interview is about – Learning what value you will add. Prepare two, open-ended questions for your interview. Use some of the research you have done about the company and position to demonstrate you are both interested and knowledgeable. Is there a part of the job you need more clarity about? What are the company’s expectations for this role during your first 30, 60, 90 days? Can you tell me more about your firm’s culture? What is your company the most excited about for the coming year? Of course, never ask about the salary, vacation days or benefits. There is a time and place for that conversation, but it is not during the first interview.
5. Be a “Closer”
You’ve made it through the hour and it’s closing time! This is an important step that should not be overlooked. Thank your interviewer and don’t forget to reaffirm your interest! At the very least, you should ask for the next steps in the process. As a follow up, it is good practice to send a thank-you email (or personal note) to your interviewer. A well-written and sincere thank-you will set you apart from other applicants.
It can be difficult to remember parts of a long interview, so jot down some notes immediately after. Not only will this help you prepare for future interviews but may also help if called back for a second interview or with an offer. Was there a question that the employer asked that you gave an insightful response to, or perhaps would change your answer next time? Were there particular staff members whose names or roles you should remember? Even if nothing comes to mind, at least jot down an overview of the interview and any questions you remember the employer asking. Then, take a few minutes to relax and congratulate yourself on being the best candidate for the job!