PREPARE FOR YOUR BIG DAY
Getting Ready for your Interview
So, you’ve sent in a resume and cover letter, and the organization wants to bring you in or do a virtual interview. First off, give yourself a high-five. Great work in getting to the next stage! Now that you have the interview scheduled, you want to make sure you make a good impression to be considered for the job. Below are some of the key stages of the interview process, ranging from the preparation you’ll need to do beforehand, the interview itself, to how to properly follow up with your interviewer.
1) Screening Call
Some jobs may ask for a “screening call” before you get a formal interview. This is typically done with a member of the Human Resources team to make sure that you’re a good fit for their organization. They may also ask questions about some of your experience, to make sure you are qualified for the position. See the next section ‘Before the Interview’ to get some tips on how to prepare.
2) Before the Interview
Research the company and learn if there are any updates or news articles that you can reference to show you’ve done your reading beforehand. Make a list of some questions that you want to ask them. It looks great to the interviewer to show your interest in their organization. Prepare some answers to commonly asked interview questions. Print out a paper copy of your resume and bring a notepad so you can take notes during the interview. Google the address and make sure you are familiar with the area and how to get there. Give yourself enough time to get to your interview and make sure to allocate time for public transit delays and traffic.
3) What to Wear to the Interview
Regardless of whether the interview is in-person or virtual, you want to dress for success. For more professional roles, you might want to wear something more formal, like a dress shirt and a nice pair of black pants with either dress shoes or professional-looking sneakers. Make sure you are comfortable.
4) Upon Arrival at your Interview (virtual or in-person)
Before you log on or announce to the receptionist that you have arrived for your interview, check your appearance to make sure you are happy with your presentation and your look. If your interview is virtual, make sure your camera and microphone are working. Check the settings in the conferencing software to make sure your audio and visual settings are good to go. If your interview is in-person and if there is a front desk or reception, let them know that you have arrived and who you are there to meet with, and at what time. Before you go into the interview, take a few deep breaths. You’ve got this!
5) During the Interview
Introduce yourself and thank the interviewers for the opportunity to meet with them. Don’t feel pressured to answer the question right away. Take a minute and think about what you are going to say before responding. Listen, ask questions, and make sure you keep good eye contact with all your interviewers. Feel free to take notes throughout the interview. Relax and enjoy the conversation. Before you leave, ask about next steps in the hiring process.
6) After the Interview
Take a moment to decompress and reflect after the interview. How do you think you did? Were there any questions that you felt you answered strongly or were there some that you think could have answered better? This will help you for future interviews. Ask yourself if this is the right job for you. It’s a two-way process: if you are a good fit for the job and organization and if it’s a good fit for you. Send an email to the interviewer after you have done some reflection, thanking them for their time and reminding them how you believe you would make a great fit with their organization. Be sure to include your contact information in the email so they can reach you easily with updates.
Interview DO'S and Don'TS
Be optimistic that you’ll get the job, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. Look at every chance to interview as an opportunity to grow your skills and get experience.
Take notes during your interview if the interviewer is asking you a question that has multiple questions to answer. This will be helpful to refer to and show that you are an active listener.
Take your time answering questions. It’s okay to tell interviewers that you need a moment to reflect on their questions to make sure you understand what they’re asking. This gives you time to provide a good response.
Use past examples to demonstrate your skills and experience. For example, instead of saying you know how to plan an event, explain how you planned an event.
Don’t interrupt your interviewer. Wait until your interviewer has finished asking their question to respond. Being eager to answer is great, but you want to be respectful.
Don’t ask the interviewer for updates about the job too frequently. Some organizations have a slow hiring process. Make a note to yourself two weeks after the interview to send a quick email checking about the status of your application.
If there are multiple interviewers, don’t speak to only one of them. There is a reason why multiple people might be in the interview, so make sure that you give eye contact and respond to each of their questions.
Don’t speak poorly about past employers. You can speak about experiences in your previous jobs that were challenging or provided the opportunity to learn but keep it positive.