All your hard work has paid off…You sent your professionally designed Curriculum Vitae out to employers and now you have been called for an interview!

A little groundwork before you go can make the difference between getting that job or falling out. Remember, first impressions count. Put your best foot forward and you may find yourself entering the domain of your dream job.

An interview is a great opportunity to sit down with those who you are going to work with. It gives them a chance to evaluate you and you should use this opportunity to evaluate whether this is a company you want to work for. Listen, answer and ask questions when they ask you “Have you any questions for us?”.

Before The Interview

 

These basics all contribute to a professional demeanour that is very important in the interview process:

 

Nutrition and Rest – Equip your body with healthy food and ample rest before the interview. This will help you to feel your best, which in turn will help you to look and perform your best.

 

Dress appropriately – Dress the way you want to be addressed – you will be judged by your appearance. As a general rule you should dress one stage up from what the position itself would require. For most office-type positions, both males and females should wear formal business attire. Also make sure that your clothing is clean, ironed and that you are well groomed with natural looking make-up and hair.

 

Bring the Necessities –

Prepare a portfolio of your best work.

Prepare a list of references to bring with you.

Bring letters of recommendation.

Make extra copies of transcripts, resumes, and other relevant documents.

You will look professional if you can save your employer the trouble of photocopying.

 

Know Where You Are Going – If you have not been to the place of interview before, it is a good idea to have a dry-run before the day of your interview. Once you know where you are going then you can make sure to give yourself sufficient time to get there.

 

Be on Time – Arrive at least 5 minutes prior to the interview. Nothing leaves a worse first impression than keeping the interviewer waiting, regardless of the reason. If you are late due to an unforeseen emergency, phone ahead.

Prepare for your Interview

 

Your objective at the interview is to:

· Describe your skills as they relate to the position or organization, and

· Evaluate whether the position is one that you want.

 

In order to do this, you should:

· Ensure that you know the employer,

· Know the industry, and

· Know yourself!

· Prepare questions to ask at the interview

· Have answers for questions that you think you will be asked

· Prepare examples to supplement your answers

· Rehearse above in an interview-like situation

 

Research the Employer and Industry – This impresses your potential employer and put you a step ahead of others. Just as importantly, it may also help you to decide if you want to work for this employer and in this industry. Find out about the organization’s size, structure, history, products/services, customers/clients, competitors, geographic locations, and any current news. Also put some time into researching issues, trends, and current events in the field. Such information can be found at your campus career centre (company literature) the library (periodicals, magazines), by contacting the company itself (annual reports, recruitment or public relations literature), through networking (talking to those who work at the company or within the industry) as well as on the Internet (company Website).

Research the Position – To find out information about the position you can consult the job description if it is available, or conduct an informational interview with someone in a similar position/occupation.

 

Have Questions Prepared – Make a list of questions that you would like to have answered at the interview. Read ‘Questions You Can Ask’ for an idea of some of the things that you might want to inquire about. Remember that the interview is as much a chance for you to evaluate the employer and position as it is for the interviewer to evaluate you. Also, this is your chance to demonstrate your knowledge about the firm.

 

Know Yourself – You should be able to identify and articulate your interests, transferable skills and abilities, key accomplishments, and personal and professional strengths and weaknesses. Think carefully about what you want to impart at the interview and how you will do so.

 

Review Your Résumé – Look over your résumé and a copy of the cover letter that you sent to this employer. You should be able to expand upon every point and to answer any question about the information in these documents, especially those areas which might be of concern to the employer.

 

Prepare Answers to Common Questions – As certain types of questions are asked in most interviews, be prepared, and plan how you will answer them. Be sure that you relate all of your answers to the position. Go back and read the ‘Questions They Might’ Ask column.

 

Think of Examples Demonstrating Your Skills – To supplement your answers, you should prepare examples that demonstrate your relevant transferable skills. For each skill be ready to describe a situation from your past work (or academic) experience where you used it effectively.

 

Rehearse – Once you know what you want to ask and how you will answer questions at the interview you should practice with a friend or professional. Many college career offices have a mock interview service. Take advantage of this – it will make a difference! The more you practice your answers, the more confidence you will have and the more coherent and effective you will be at the actual interview.

 

After the Interview

 

You may wish to send a Thank you letter, thanking the interviewer for her time spent with you.  Not too many people take the time to do this, so this shows a higher level of effort and courtesy than some of the other job seekers.

If you do not hear back within the 3 or 4 days following the interview, then call to thank the interviewer again and inquire about the position.

Even a bad interview can be a useful learning tool. Learn from your mistakes! After the interview, think about what you would like to improve, perhaps even write it down. Develop a strategy for how to do this and follow through on it. Also, if you do not get the job, then you can ask the interviewer for some feedback on what you did well in the interview and what you need to improve upon for future interviews.