Interview skills

Interviewing is not easy. You have to practice and practice and practice. And in some respects, it’s like trying to get to Carnegie Hall.

You wanna start by doing all the research you can about the company. Go to their websites to see what people are saying good and bad about them. Not that you’ll tell them that during the interview, but it gives you some ideas.

Know the company’s mission statement. Know their goals and what they call things. Try to use their words when you speak to them. In the interview, you are working hard to look like the person they want in their corner.

You want to make sure that you dress professionally. Usually, dress one step better than standard company attire.

Do not wear a suit if you’re a contractor going out for a job, building houses, etc. Dressed in good work clothes better in good repair with good work boots. During the interview, don’t fidget or rock in a chair.

Keeping eye contact and looking people eye to eye is good. It shows that you’ve done your homework and are interested in the company. Have some relevant questions based on what you’ve read about the company.

Ask if there are any particular times for a follow-up check to see if the job has been filled. Finally, after you have left, write thank you cards. Do it by hand. Make them neat and personal, and you can always leave them with the front desk person to distribute them for you.

Invited to an In-Person Interview

Now the real excitement starts.  You are on the shortlist. Now it is time to display your best thoughts and how you can critically lay things out.

  • Make sure you have the day, time, and location correct.
  • Dress one step above the normal dress code for the company.
  • Arrive about 10-15 minutes early.  Not too early and never late.
  • Do not take coffee if offered. Bottled water would be OK if offered.

The first person you meet is generally the receptionist.  Be very nice to them.  They are your first interviewer and usually asked what they think of you. Relax, look calm and interested.

  • When in the interview room, smile, shake hands, be personable.
  • Sit upright, no lounging or rocking in the chair.
  • Avoid one-word answers to questions.  They want to hear you talk and your ideas.
  • Stick to the subject, answer the question, and do not go on and on.
  • For ‘How would you’ and ‘What if’ questions, take a moment to explain your reasoning.  Interviewers need to know how you think.
  • In answering questions, use company words and phrases you learned from their website.
  • Please make sure to get everyone’s name so you can send them thank-you notes afterward.

If lunch or meeting future coworkers are on the agenda, remember manners and be polite to everyone.  Even the janitor is a cherished company employee.  No one wants to empty their trashcan.

Relax and follow the company lead.

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