At PSI we see a wide variety of candidates to fulfill a wide variety of positions for our clients. In fact – our team even shared some great experiences over the years highlighting what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to sourcing talent. But one of the biggest challenges for hiring managers is conducting interviews. Sometimes candidates can be perfect on paper, and even on the phone; but when it comes to the in-person experience, they fall short, and you’re forced to go back to the drawing board and start all over.
We know that the challenges exceed the internal strife that comes with bringing on a new team member. On the other side of the spectrum, finding a job, is equally, if not more difficult. To help level the playing field and make things more efficient and satisfying for both parties, we decided to share some tips for landing that perfect job.
When conducting a job search and trying to figure out how to prepare for a job interview, it is key to make yourself stand out. One resume among dozens, or even hundreds of other applicants, can pass by a recruiting manager and it can seem like a miracle when you make it to a phone screening call. On these stages, many things depend on the subjective preference of the person in charge and sometimes even luck.
When you do land that in-person interview that’s when it’s your time to truly shine and show what you’ve got. These 10 steps will help you succeed when determining how to prepare for a job interview leading up to in-person interviews and afterward.
- Do your research. While most of the interview questions will be about you, many will be about how you might fit the organization and its company culture. A simple Internet search on the company you’re applying to work for can equip you with information you need to make a great first impression
- Dress appropriately. Do your best to dress in a way that matches your perception of the company culture. A matching suit might be appropriate for an interview at a law firm but would be awkwardly formal for an interview at a beer distributor.
- Bring a resume and work samples. Bring a few copies of your resume with you to the interview, even if you’ve already submitted one digitally. It can never hurt to be overly prepared.
- Remember that body language matters. When you sit up straight and make eye contact, you convey confidence. When you lean forward, you communicate interest in the person talking to you. But when you look down, mumble, or fidget, it suggests a lack of full engagement.
- Be honest. One of the more common interview questions involves asking a candidate to name their greatest weaknesses. If you’re asked this, be honest—but also be wary of naming a weakness that suggests you don’t work well with others or can’t conform to company culture. If those are legitimate issues you face, you’ll need to work on improving them before you go out for job interviews.
- Speak respectfully about your current job (or previous job). One of the biggest interview mistakes occurs when a candidate is certain they have the job and starts trashing the supervisor from their last job. That can leave a terrible impression, so stay respectful and professional no matter what.
- Be prepared to ask your own questions. Come with a list of questions that you’d like to pose if prompted, or jot a few down as you chat. These questions should show sincere interest in the company, its business model, and the potential job offer in front of you.
- Follow up afterward. In this modern age an email follow up is appropriate. A few sentences will be plenty. The mere act of sending the message shows that you care and that you appreciate the consideration. If you want to really impress your interviewer, send a personalized letter in the mail as well.
- Always assume there are other candidates. In most economic environments, open job positions attract many candidates. When you leave the room, it’s possible someone will interview right after you. Even if you’re interviewing for your dream job and believe it to be a perfect match, you must think of yourself as in competition with others. Do everything you can to be extra prepared.
- Treat remote interviews like you would in-person interviews. There was a time when all interviews were conducted in person, but those days are long gone. If you’re asked to do a phone interview or a video conference, all of the above rules still apply.
After all is said and done, don’t forget that the right job for you is out there. Sometimes we concede for the sake of our families, or our own financial security; but there is always opportunity, you just have to find it – oh, and wear the right shoes.