Interview best practices apply to anyone looking for a job.
If you’re serious about getting a job, following these interview best practices is your best bet.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele
INTERVIEW BEST PRACTICES: BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
KNOW YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYER
Before the interview, the first thing you need to do is review the job advertisement you applied to as well as the company’s website.
It is important to ensure you have knowledge of the company’s mission, goals, services as well as the day-to-day job duties you are expected to perform.
You could be asked questions regarding any of this, so the more you know, the better.
Specifically looking at the job ad, make notes of how and when you achieved specific experience and knowledge in each of the duties and required skills listed.
This way, when you are asked in the interview if you have these skills, you will be ready with a specific example of where you achieved this experience.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO WEAR?
You also want to make sure you have a professional interview outfit ready to wear.
Dress pants, a blouse and cardigan or blazer would be an example of something appropriate.
Alternatively, consider a skirt or dress with an appropriate length hemline, just above the knee is the shortest you should go, with a cardigan or blazer on top.
Do not wear perfume to your interview.
Many people are sensitive to scents and it could be off-putting to your interviewer.
Make sure you do not wear clothing with slogans, logos, rips, and stains.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Do you know how to get to your interview location?
Do you know how long it will take to drive there, or take the bus there?
It is crucial that you research ahead of time the location you will be going to for your interview and how long it will take you to get there.
By doing this, you will know exactly how much time to give yourself from leaving your house to getting to your interview site 15 minutes early.
You may also want to consider bringing a list of your references.
Your interviewer, may not ask for these items, but in the event that he or she does, it will show that you are organized and prepared by having them on hand.
Finally, the last thing you need to do is practice, practice, practice your interview skills.
A mock interview session is strongly recommended to ensure you are well-prepped for your interview and will not be phased by the questions asked of your interviewer.
Remember that a mock interview is a safe place for you to stumble through answers, and make mistakes.
It allows you the opportunity to come up with better, more confident answers so that you ace your actual interview.
WHAT IS A MOCK INTERVIEW?
Essentially a mock interview involves a friend, family member or colleague mimicking the interview process with you by sitting down and pretending to interview you.
They should ask you many of the questions and help you assess your ability to answer each of the questions asked.
Going through this exercise will help you determine your level of readiness for your interview.
Are you able to confidently, clearly and accurately answer each question?
Then you are ready to go!
Are you drawing a blank, or mumbling your way through the answers?
Then you need to take more time to practice your responses and work on building up that self-confidence.
INTERVIEW BEST PRACTICES: DURING THE INTERVIEW
When you are called in to your interview, warmly greet your interviewer with a smile and a handshake.
Throughout the interview process ensure you make eye contact as this shows confidence.
Try to ensure your body language demonstrates that you are positive and interested in what your interviewer has to say.
Good practices for body language include not crossing your arms, smiling occasionally, making eye contact, sitting still (no fidgeting), and no gum chewing or eating.
When answering interview questions, be sure to give clear and specific examples for each answer.
Always have a positive attitude and never speak negatively about your current or previous employer.
At the end of the interview thank the interviewer, ask what the next steps are, and ask for a business card or contact email.
INTERVIEW BEST PRACTICES: AFTER THE INTERVIEW
After the interview, there are a few more things you need to do to ensure the whole process will go smoothly.
The first is to contact your references (if the interviewer said he or she will be contacting them) to give them a heads up that someone will be calling so they aren’t caught off guard.
Follow up with your interviewer with a thank you email.
This is good interview etiquette and it never hurts to reiterate your interest in the organization and position.
If you do not hear anything back regarding the position within a week or two, follow up with an email or phone call to see if a decision has been made.
If you end up getting an offer, make sure to read through the details so that you understand the salary, benefits, and provisions of your offer.
Having knowledge of the industries wage rates and typical benefits will allow you to ensure you are getting a fair offer.
If you do not feel your offer is fair based on your experience and the industry rates, be sure to respectfully discuss this with your prospective employer.
When you decide to take a new offer, make sure you give sufficient notice to your current employer before leaving, as you don’t want to burn any bridges.
The standard is to give two weeks but there may be something different written into the employment contract you signed when you first joined your current employer – be sure to review this letter.