The Complete Guide to the Interview Process

Posted: 02/20/14 | Category:

Job interviews can be tricky endeavors.  A lot goes into the process, and small mistakes can have big consequences.  Thankfully, the basic structure of the interview hasn’t changed much in the past century.  If you are feeling a bit lost in the mix, this complete guide can help you ace any interview.


Preparation

Know your route: Make sure that you know exactly how you will get there (by car, public transportation, etc.).  If you are uncertain of travel times then feel free to do a test run.

Know the company: Find out everything you can about the company, their policies, the team’s culture, and any current projects they are working on.  The more you know about the company, the better you will be able to convey that you are the perfect candidate.

Know the person interviewing you:  Just as knowing the company is beneficial, find out anything you can about the person who will be interviewing you.  Are they from HR?  A department head?  An executive?

Know what you want to say: You should have a solid list of talking points that you know you want to hit.  Make sure all of your relevant hard and soft skills are at the forefront, as well as any major accomplishments in your career.

Know what questions you want to ask: Prepare a list of questions to ask when the interviewer gives you the stage.  Make them relevant and insightful.  Never ask anything that can be answered by the company website.

 

Day of the Interview

Leave early: Make sure you are out on time.  Always leave enough time to spare in case of accidents, bad weather, or any other unforeseeable problems.

Enter the office 5-10 minutes early:  If you arrive with 20-30 to spare, wait in the parking lot.  Entering the office too early can be construed as desperate.

Remember that you are being watched:  Once you enter the office lobby, the interview has commenced.  Refrain from toying with your phone (better yet, leave it at home or in the car) and always maintain a professional demeanor.

 

The Interview Itself

Nail the introduction: Put on a nice smile, cultivate a confident appearance, and nail the handshake as you enter the office.  Bad first impressions can be deal breakers.

Hit your talking points: Make sure to hit as many of your prepared talking points as possible.  Sell your skills to the company by showcasing how you can help them become stronger.

Mind your body language: Non-verbal cues are just as important as what you say.  Mind your posture and maintain eye contact when speaking or being spoken to.

Add to your list of questions: As the interview continues, take mental notes and add questions based on the information you are being given.  If you get a chance, ask them in the middle of the interview.  The best interviews are run like a conversation, not a question and answer session.

Don’t mind the silence: Do not panic if the interviewer pauses and there is an awkward silence.  You can often talk yourself into a hole by adding to your answer.  Let him or her break the silence or, if it persists, ask if anything you said needs to be clarified.

Always find out what is next: Always ask what the next step is, and never forget to prepare and send out an email thanking the hiring manager for taking the time to speak with you.

By Kevin Withers

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