Here are a few interview tips to help you sell yourself, prepare you for the things to remember and not to do during an interview.
Do Sell Yourself
Your success in an interview is based on your ability to sell your background and experience, showing how you are right for the job, and showing what you can bring to the ultimate success of the company by possessing a genuine interest in the job and the company.
Your preparation in selling YOU will ultimately be the key. Your goal is to present yourself as the kind of candidate the employer is looking for: someone with good knowledge of self, capabilities and with a clear vision of goals and opportunities.
The first 5 minutes of the interview are vital! This is where the interviewer makes some very important perceptions about you. Project a favorable image by arriving early, dressing appropriately, and behaving in a courteous manner. Be poised and enthusiastic about your opportunities with the employer, and confident in your abilities.
In your advanced preparation, determine three key skill sets you can bring to the position based on your background. You are selling yourself, so even if the question is not specifically asked, make sure you add these points at some point in the conversation.
Always listen closely to the question and stay on the subject. Referencing real situations or experiences proves your response, and is much more effective than generalizations. Elaborate on questions instead of giving a simple yes or no answer. Volunteering an example of a real situation is key in effectively selling yourself as it provides validity to your response, but be careful not to get off topic.
Remember that you are there to find out if this is a company that you can love. Feel free to write out questions ahead of time that you can ask to get a feel for the direction of the company, along with whether the position will give you the growth and development you desire. Asking questions like, “why the position is available,” and asking to meet the manager or team you will be working with, are very acceptable and help you to decide if this is the right opportunity for you.
Be sure to focus your questions 60/40 on what you can add to the company’s growth and what the company can add to your growth, respectively. Avoid questions about benefits and compensation in your first interview unless they are asked by the interviewer.
Things to Remember
- Dress professionally (Minimal jewelry, no perfume/cologne, and make sure your shoes are shined)
- Arrive on time and for good measure a little early
- Ensure you confirm correct address and location (some companies have multiple locations in the same market)
- Leave your cell phone in your car
- Firm handshake, smile and maintain direct eye contact
- Show a genuine interest and enthusiasm in the company
- Do your homework on the company prior to the first interview (review their website, financial information/ annual report, etc.)
- Do your homework on the interviewer (often you can find them on LinkedIn or the company website)
- Have questions prepared or be able to formulate meaningful questions during the interview to demonstrate knowledge and interest in the position
- Maintain direct eye contact throughout the interview
- It is perfectly acceptable to take notes
- Be aware of your body language – (do not fold your arms – appear relaxed, yet poised and confident)
- Thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the interview and ask about next steps if they were not discussed
- Ask for a business card(s) from interviewer(s)
- Send an email or handwritten note thanking the interviewer
- Call your recruiter and let him/her know how the interview went