There are multiple aspects to preparing for a job interview as well as countless questions that your interviewer can ask you to decipher if you are the right fit for the position.
The effort of repeatedly practicing these possible questions while keeping in mind how your experiences, strengths, and priorities can culminate into a sufficient answer is the most efficient way to prepare for your upcoming interview. Take a look at our interview brainstorming worksheets, list of common interview questions, tips, and other resources to Prepare for the big day!
Learn as much as you can about the prospective employer by reviewing its Web site thoroughly, reading industry publications and talking to others who may know about the company’s culture and what the firm may be looking for in an employee.
Review your resume. Think about how your skills and accomplishments can be assets to the company.
Be prepared to answer these standard questions:
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Why do you want to work here? What do you know about the company?
What are your strengths/weaknesses?
Why did you leave your last job and what have you been doing since then?
Also be prepared for off-the-wall questions, which are increasingly common. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked a questions such as, “If you could have lunch with someone famous, who would it be?” These questions provide information about your personality and how you think on your feet.
Practice answering interview questions out loud. You want your responses to sound confident but not rehearsed.
Prepare your own list of questions to ask the interviewer. Remember: this is your opportunity to learn more about the position and the company’s culture.
Complete a list of two to three professional references, or people who can speak positively about your skills and work ethic. Just be sure to ask if they are willing to serve as your references before you give out their contact information.
Be prepared to complete a written application, which will likely ask for your contact information and the addresses and phone numbers of your previous employers.
Practice. Practice. Practice. The BEST way to prepare for your interview is to run through interview question after interview question, edit your answers, and seek feedback from peers. The Dress for Success staff and volunteers are here to be your encouragers, peers, and listeners for practicing for your interview.
The STAR method is a great strategy to implement when answering interview questions. It provides a guideline to formulating your answers in a way that both answers the question and highlights your experience, problem solving skills, and accomplishments.
Scenario - Set the scene. Explain the problem or challenge
Task- Elaborate on your responsibility within the situation.
Action- Describe the choices you made in handling the problem.
Result- Illustrate how your actions led to success or change as well as what you learned from the experience.
Your answer should create a story that engages your interviewer and fully showcases the abilities and strengths you utilized within the scenario.
Much of the communication between human beings is non-verbal. Interviews are more than question and answer sessions – they are an interaction. Looking and feeling the part will help you and will covey to the interviewer that you are professional, focused and enthusiastic. You should practice good body language in all of your mock interviews.
Research has shown that in terms of first impressions:
55% is based on body language and facial expressions
38% on tone of voice – how we say things
7% only on what is actually said
In terms of first impressions, it’s not what you say, but the way you say it, that matters.
DFSSJ staff and volunteers are more than willing to facilitate a mock interview for you. Make an appointment at the Career Center contact us via email or phone.
10 CRITICAL INTERVIEW TIPS
It's important to make a great impression during an interview. Here are ten basic tips to convince a prospective employer that you're the one for the job.
Talk specifics about the company. Thoroughly research the job, the company and its products or services. The more specific you are when discussing the position, the better. Also, preparing will make you feel confident if you're asked specific company-related questions.
Bring an extra copy of your resume - just in case.
Make eye contact. It shows that you are focused and confident.
Demonstrate interest and enthusiasm about the company.
Dress professionally. “'Professional” can be interpreted in many ways these days. Basically, whether the company’s style requires a suit or is laid back, make an effort to look presentable. It matters. Go light on the perfume. If you smoke, try to do so after the interview.
Try to respond to questions within 60 seconds. You don't want to be monosyllabic, but lengthy responses will make the employer lose interest and you might lose your own focus.
Listen and respond to answers directly. If you are unclear about a question, ask for clarification.
Be prepared to discuss how what you've done in the past will affect how you'll perform in your future position. Give examples that show your value.
Ask questions. Sharp questions show that you are proactive and want to make sure that this company is the right place for you.
Send a thank you note within two days of the interview. Express your interest in the position and thank the interviewer for his or her time. Even if you're not interested in the job, you never know who might be a good contact for you down the line.
Do's and Don'ts
DO take out your pad of paper and pen so you can take notes.
DO be friendly. Give a firm handshake, make eye contact, smile and speak up. Try breaking the ice by engaging in small talk. For example, comment on the nice surroundings or a book you notice on the hiring manager’s shelf.
DO tell yourself you deserve the job. (That doesn’t mean they owe it to you. You must convince them.)
DO use the interview to describe your strengths and how they align with the requirements of the position.
DO be prepared to talk about your professional goals.
DO be enthusiastic, courteous and alert throughout the entire interview.
DO sit calmly. If you tend to gesture a lot when you talk, try clasping your hands in your lap.
DO ask for a business card so that you can send him or her a short and prompt thank-you note.
DON’T bring a friend or child along.
DON’T be insincere. Fake flattery shows.
DON’T wear flashy jewelry (keep it simple and small) or a facial piercing.
DON’T speak negatively about former employers or colleagues. Focus on the positive aspects of your work history.
DON’T start with questions about your salary or time off. These questions are only appropriate if you have been offered the position or the interviewer expresses serious interest in hiring you.
DON’T be afraid to express your interest in the position. It’s okay to say, “I want this job. I know I could make a real contribution to the company.”
DON’T slump, yawn or chew your nails or gum during the interview.
DON’T panic if you make a mistake, trip over your words or even knock something over. Show how cool you are under pressure.