Professional Development Tips: Interviewing
You did it! The company of your dreams wants to interview you for a highly-sought after position. You’re on cloud nine. You’ve made it. Well… almost. You still need to ace the interview. Before you allow nerves to take over, here are some helpful interviewing tips.
Before Your Interview
Preparing for your interview is just as important as the actual in-person interview. Never rely on the idea “Oh, I’ve interviewed hundreds of times! I’ll be fine.” No. Before you walk in, make sure you know who is going to be in the room, check out their LinkedIn, and find something about them you find interesting and craft questions. Do the same for the company. Even if it’s a company you’ve been interested in for a long time.Try to find testimonials from people who work there. What is the culture like? Is there anything you find exciting about where the company is headed? Create questions that focus on the company and your specific interests in working there.
During the Interview
Pad-folio in hand, you walk into the room where your potential future boss is waiting. Remember, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Be confident in your abilities. You’ve got this.
While talking with the interviewer, be enthusiastic. You applied for this job and received an interview for a reason. Make sure you know that reason, and boldly express interest in the position. When they ask questions, it’s okay to take a moment and process. Don’t feel like you need to have the answer on the tip of your tongue. Silence is not the enemy. In fact, taking time to formulate an answer shows your ability to think on the spot.
Slow down. This is easier said than done. I have to remind myself to slow down every time I interview. When you talk too fast, it’s easy to jumble up words and become confused. Make sure to stay focused and breathe. “If you’re not breathing, you’re not able to think,” some great advice that I received from a mentor.
When the time comes, pull out your questions. Pay close attention to what they have to say and jot down notes if something strikes you. Never be afraid to ask the interviewer to elaborate because they don’t expect you to know everything, and you shouldn’t act as if you do. Use this part of the interview as a chance to learn about the company, and also as an opportunity to network with a professional.
After the Interview
The Interview is over. Whew. Now what? The waiting game.
I’m sure you’ve heard it again and again, “send a follow-up.” Well, I am going to say it. Send a follow-up. Whether that’s a handwritten note, an email, or a phone call. Make sure to express your interest in the position. Not only does a follow-up show that you really care, but it is also an opportunity to keep the conversation going. Bring up something from the interview that excited you or ask a question that you didn’t have time to answer. Whatever you do, make sure your follow up is personal.
My hope is that these interview tips will help you ace your next interview. If you are not offered the position, think of the interview experience as a positive one for your professional growth. Any chance to interview and put yourself out there is an opportunity network. Even if the outcome isn’t what you expected, you never know what you may learn or how much you’ll grow.