The 10 Easy Steps to a Successful Interview

Posted: 04/29/14 | Category:

Every successful interview is comprised of just the right amounts of preparation, insight, and eagerness.  If you really want to get the job, you will do whatever is necessary.  Thankfully, this doesn’t require you to give up an arm and a leg. 

You just have to remember these 10 easy steps to a successful interview.

Preparation

The days before the interview should be spent perusing the company’s website, social media sites, press releases, and any other information you can dig up.  Make sure you know everything you can about the company’s people and their goals.

Plot out the route you will take to the interview and make sure that your outfit is clean, pressed, and ready to go the night before.  You want your focus to be solely on the interview when the day comes.
 

Arrive early

The golden rule of interview arrival times is to get there 10 minutes before the start.  Any earlier, and you appear too eager.  Any later, and you risk looking indifferent.  Give yourself plenty of time to get there.  If you get to the building too early, wait somewhere offsite until the appropriate time.

Remember the interview starts when you walk in the door

Always assume that you are being watched as soon as you walk through the door of the office.  You should never pull out your phone while waiting to meet with the hiring manager (better yet, leave it in the car).  You must be engaged from the moment you step into and out of the building.

Nail the first impression

Many hiring managers agree that the first impression is one of the most important parts of a successful interview.  It can often dictate the tone of the entire interview as well as how the interviewer perceives you.  Make sure you put on a friendly smile, make eye contact, and give a nice, firm handshake to every person you meet.

Hit your talking points

Write down a list of talking points (i.e. your best skills, accomplishments, and ideas) that you know you must hit during the interview.  Keep them in mind as you answer the interview questions that you will be asked.
Make it about the company

Every successful interview is focused on the company, not the candidate.  Yes, you are here because the company wants to know more about you, but the emphasis should be put on how you can benefit the company.  Structure your answers so that there is no doubt whatsoever that you are here to help them reach their goals.

Ask intuitive questions

The undeniable make-or-break section of every interview comes when the interviewer hands the stage over to you.  It is here that you must be prepared to ask a series of questions about the job and the company.  Tailor the questions to what you know about the company and never ask anything that can be found on their website.  For a few starter ideas, see this list.

Mind your body language

38% of employers note that poor interviewees failed to smile, and this is just one aspect of interview body language.  Make sure that you are mindful of the non-verbal cues throughout the entire interview.  This includes eye contact, posture, and facial expressions.

Seal the deal

Unlike your resume and cover letter, which should leave the hiring manager wanting to know more about you, the interview should not be a teaser meeting.  This is the time to fully convince the company that you are the right person for the job.  Don’t leave any stones unturned, and always finish by asking, “Are there any concerns about my qualifications that I can clear up for you?”

Follow up

The interview isn’t over when you leave the office.  Make sure to follow up with an email thanking the person or people (if more than one, write an individual email to each person) for taking the time to meet with you.

For more tips on how to have a successful interview, contact a recruiter.  They can help prepare you by giving you valuable insights on the company’s culture, operations, and goals.

By Kevin Withers

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