Know yourself — your strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments. An interview is not the time to wing it? Prepare as much as you would for a presentation to the Board of Directors at your company.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY
Find out as much as you can about the company through annual reports, Newspapers, Internet, etc. Your effort will show in the interview, and you’ll be seen as proactive, hardworking and astute.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY TO MATCH THE COMPANY CULTURE
Many companies have gone to corporate casual. Check with your contact to see what they require. When in doubt, always err on the side of formal business attire.
ARRIVE 10 TO 20 MINUTES EARLY
Punctuality is a subtle clue about attitude and behaviour. Tardiness, no matter the excuse, is a major blunder. Research in advance what your parking options are and allow plenty of time.
First impressions, positive or negative, dramatically affect the ultimate evaluation. You can make or break an interview within the first five minutes.
APPEAR FRIENDLY AND OUTGOING
Smile and say hello to everyone. A positive reaction from the support staff is an important factor in the evaluation. Many hires have been heavily influenced by an Administrative assistant.
High self-esteem and self-confidence are the hallmarks of the successful individual. With confidence, be able to demonstrate how you have overcome obstacles. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself.
COME PREPARED FOR KEY QUESTIONS
Practice your responses to all the typical questions, such as "tell me about yourself" and "why are you looking for a new position?" How well you speak will have a bigger impact than what you say.
The most effective interviews are those where an active two-way conversation takes place. Not the typical question and answer type. Begin early in the interview to interject your own relevant insight. Remember, don’t interrupt your interviewer.
ESTABLISH YOUR WORTH
Discuss your specific accomplishments that demonstrate a proactive attitude. Such as: have you installed systems, done something not required, trained someone, etc. It’s always important to demonstrate how you either created revenue or saved expenses, and be specific with the amounts and how you accomplished that goal.
KNOW YOUR SIX KEY STRENGTHS
Be prepared to discuss in detail and with examples your five or six main attributes. These should be the ultimate reason you get the job over someone else. Assuming you have done the proper homework on the company, these strengths should also be closely aligned to the key traits the employer is looking for in a person to fill their position.
GIVE 1 TO 2 MINUTE RESPONSES
Communication is the key to successful interviewing. A minimum of one to two minutes of well-prepared discussion gives the interviewer insight into your intellect and supports your contentions.
Support statements about yourself with specific examples. These will provide legitimacy to your claims. Without them, the interviewer won’t accept them as valid.
Stay alert during the interview. Maintain good eye contact. Sit forward in your chair. Be animated. Show high levels of interest and stay enthused. These actions can maintain or generate momentum during the interview. This is especially important when you are doing multiple interviews on the same day. The energy level must be as high for the last as it is for the first.
DON’T BE ARROGANT
A presumptuous, overbearing attitude will offset the finest abilities. There’s a fine line between being too confident and cocky. Don’t cross that line.
ASK PROBING QUESTIONS
A few strategic questions can demonstrate your intelligence, analytical skills and assertiveness. Have these prepared from your research. Avoid superficial small talk.
BE POSITIVE ABOUT CO-WORKERS
Don’t bad mouth previous positions, companies or employers. No matter how well founded, this implies a negative attitude, typical of those who don’t take personal responsibility for their actions.
CLEARLY STATE YOUR INTEREST
By the conclusion of the interview, state that you are definitely interested in the position and would like to know when the next step will take place. It’s best to demonstrate this interest throughout the session. Be careful not to go overboard.
KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVE AND END WITH IT
Establish your objective before the interview, like a second interview or an offer. Ask for it if you have not achieved it. Ask a question such as, "do you think my skills match your needs?" This gets straight to the point and, at worse, reveals other obstacles to overcome