Know the audience:
Research position requirements, company profile, trends, etc. Your knowledge of the company should set you apart from other candidates. You should be able to answer the question, “Why do you want to work here?”
Know your message:
Skills, knowledge, talents and accomplishments that differentiate you from other candidates. Be able to name your strengths and attributes that you are working to improve. Be able to answer the question, “Why should we hire you?”
Get your stories straight:
Be prepared to answer questions that begin with “Tell me about a time when….” (those are called “behavioral” questions). Make sure you can tell at least two stories that illustrate each of the major skill sets or requirements of the positions. In those stories, be able to specifically describe the actions you took to address a situation, the skills you used, and the outcomes or results of your actions.
Prepare your questions:
Asking good questions about the company and the job tells the interviewer that you are well prepared and genuinely interested.
Bring multiple copies – one for each interviewer, one for HR, one for yourself. Print them on nice résumé paper if possible.
Bring a typed copy of your reference list. If you have copies of some of your top notch evaluations, articles you have authored or have been quoted in, written samples of your work, or quotes from clients or customers, bring those, too.
Psych yourself up:
Remind yourself (specifically) of why you’re a great candidate for the job.
Show up well:
Dress appropriately and present a conservative image, head to toe.
Non-verbal communication can be more important than you would think. The impact you make on your listeners is heavily weighted by what you don’t say:
- 55 percent of overall impact comes from non-verbal gestures, posture, etc.
- Smile! And use eye contact to make a connection with the interviewer.
- Always lean forward (to express interest) and maintain good posture.
- Use of hands to be more expressive is a good thing, just don’t overdo it.
- 35 percent of overall impact comes from tone, volume, emotions, expressiveness.
- If you are offered something to drink, take water. It soothes and relaxes the vocal muscles.
- Concentrate on the words you are saying so appropriate tone and emotions are evident.
- Avoid extremes, such as talking too fast or too slow, too softly or too loudly.
- Show expression in your voice; watch out for monotone delivery – inflections and changes in tone are important for keeping listeners engaged (especially during phone interviews!).
- 10 percent of overall impact comes from the content of your words, so make them count!
- Diction is important. Make sure you’re not mispronouncing words. Be open to feedback from others. If you mispronounce a word, correct yourself.
- Start strong –The connection you make in the first few minutes sets the tone for the rest of the interview. Show your enthusiasm by expressing excitement about the position and the interview. It is more than OK to say that you are really glad about being there. Most interviewers sense your passion for the job and without any questions being asked, you have already created a positive impression.
- Follow the “Rule of Three” when showcasing your qualifications:
- What you know more than most people (your knowledge)
- What you can do better than most people (your skills)
- What you are most proud of (your accomplishments and strengths)
- Be specific about why you think you’re a good fit for the job. Say “I am excited about this position because …”
- Even if the interview itself makes you a bit nervous, be confident about your skills and experience; show that you know you would be successful in the role.
- Let your questions demonstrate that you are eager to understand and meet their expectations.
- Try to determine whether they have any reservations about your qualifications, but do it in a positive way. For example, you could say, “Is there anything else you need to know or clarify regarding my qualifications and ability to succeed in this position?”
- Finish strong:
- If you want the job, say so! Make a powerful statement regarding your desire to move to the next stage in the hiring process.
- Look for an opportunity to summarize how your qualifications match the job requirements, and express your enthusiasm and excitement for the challenges that lie ahead.
- Leave the interviewer with the impression that you are already thinking about how you can make the transition into the role.
- Be sure to find out about next steps in the process and when a hiring decision will be made.
- Thank the interviewer for their time and leave with a smile on your face.
The following are some of the most commonly cited reasons for turning down a candidate:
- Poor diction and grammar
- Lack of focus
- Lack of eye contact
- Too much emphasis on salary and benefits
- Lack of interest in the position and company
- Lack of poise and courtesy
- Overbearing know-it-all attitude