Performing well during job interviews is actually a critical element of any effective job search campaign. It is certainly unfortunate to do all of the hard work needed to get the interview just to reduce your chances at securing the position by performing poorly.
Proper job interviewing has been the subject of a vast number of books and other information materials, so it is not possible to cover everything in one blog post. However, here are 5 things to keep in mind when preparing for a job interview.
Maximize Your Chances with Proper Interview Preparation
- Learn as much as you can about the company/organization and position. Most companies, non-profits, etc. have websites you can review. In addition, you can Google the name of the potential employer and learn quite a bit about its mission, accomplishments, and challenges. Interviewers generally appreciate applicants who have shown enough focus and interest to learn about the company/organization prior to the interview.
- Dress appropriately for the interview. This will depend to some extent on the position you are applying for, but casual business attire (at the least) is using a good option. If you are interviewing through Skype or similar application, still plan to dress appropriately (avoid dress shirt and tie, but with no pants for example) and make sure there are no distractions in the background, such as clutter, crooked pictures, and pets.
- Identify aspects of your job history that may produce red flags during the interview process. Trying to ignore issues, such as employment gaps, short-term employment, and poor references and just hoping they do not come up is not a strategy for success. Instead, think through the potential interview red flags and develop reasonable responses that will pass the laugh test. At times, it is even appropriate to acknowledge an issue or even failure as long as you follow-up with a comment on how you have learned from it or can avoid it in your new employment opportunity.
- Be prepared to ask good questions about the company/organization and position. Just like interviewers appreciate good preparation from applicants, they also appreciate people who can process the information from the interview and ask thoughtful follow-up questions that focus on qualitative aspects of the position. Avoid any mention of salary, benefits, and similar issues until the end of the interview. There is no worse turnoff for interviewers than for applicants to bring up these issues too early in the process.
- Anticipate questions that may be more challenging or present potential pitfalls. A few of these questions could include: what negative qualities do you have and how could they impact your performance? or how do you handle disagreement or conflict in the workplace? You probably will not anticipate all of these types of questions, but an effort to consider the possibilities is time well spent.
Properly preparing for a job interview will help alleviate the stress that builds up as the time approaches and will most certainly increase your chances of success. Fortunately, many professionals have examined the issue of job interviewing and there are numerous resources online and at your local bookstore that can strengthen the preparation process. Click here to go to the Job Search Resource Links page and consider three high quality books available on the subject.