interview tips

Job Interview Tips for Professionals

job interview

So, you found a great job posting, applied and now the company wants to interview you. Great! Ugh!  The dreaded interview.  Why can’t they just take your word for it that you are a perfect fit?!

No one likes to be interviewed for a job.  And those of us who are shy find it especially daunting.  But don’t panic.  With some prep, you will do just fine.  Whether it’s an online interview or in person, it’s always nerve-wracking. Below are some tips to help you navigate this process with confidence.

Advance Preparation

Do online research about the company:  Review the entire website and take notes on the mission statement, recent news, key people, featured products or services and company culture. 

Look at some of the profiles of key people on Linked-In:  This is especially true if the role you are applying for is management level.

Read the job description carefully:  Be prepared to discuss how your background fits with key responsibilities.

Find practice questions online: Practice answering questions in the mirror or in front of a family member or friend.  Several websites offer sample questions, such as Glassdoor, Monster, and this article from The Muse.

Prepare questions of your own:  More on this in the next section.

Dress appropriately:  Prepare your wardrobe well in advance in case of malfunctions.

During the Interview

Bring at least two copies of your resume.

Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.

When greeting the interviewer, stand, smile and offer a firm, but not knuckle-cracking, handshake.

Be prepared for questions such as:

  • Tell me about yourself? – Give a brief (no more than 60 seconds) description of your professional background, highlighting a couple of your special skills, and wrap your answer with why you want to work there.
  • Why do you want to work here?  – This is your chance to show that you researched the company and read the job description and is the time to show why your background fits the job responsibilities as well as the company mission.
  • Why did you leave your last job?  – Avoid complaining about your last job in any way. Instead, find authentic comments such as you would like to be part of a larger organization with more opportunities for growth and find some positive things to say about your last employer.
  • What are your greatest challenges? – Answer this question honestly but then discuss how you took turned it into a strength by taking steps to address it.  For example, if you have had problems with spreadsheets, discuss how you fixed it.

Be prepared to ask questions of your own such as:

  • Where would the company like to be in five years?
  • What are the skills you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
  • Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
  • Can I answer any final questions for you?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Things not to ask during the interview: Do not ask about salary, work hours or benefits such as working remotely or vacation.  Wait until they make you an offer.

After the Interview

Always follow up with a brief thank-you letter or email within 24 hours of the interview.  Employers take time out of their day to meet with you, and that means a lot. Thanking them for that goes a long way.

You’ll do great so go get ‘em!

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