First, conduct research on the organization. Is it on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list? Go to Glassdoor.com to see what employees say about the organization. Then visit the organization’s website. Last, but not least, Google the name of the organization to read any related news articles. This due diligence will not only provide you with the confidence that considering this organization will be worth it, but it also will impress those who interview you by showing you’ve done your homework.
Once you are familiar with the organization, prepare for the interview itself. This will boost your chances of doing well. Here are a few guidelines to follow.
BEFORE the Interview, get prepared:
- Study the job description closely.
- Be prepared to explain how you meet every one of the required qualifications.
- Think of ways to communicate the results you achieved on the job or doing volunteer work.
- How will you sell the hiring manager on why you would be a great fit for the organization?
- Rehearse answers to the really tough questions that are likely to come up.
- Write down questions of your own to ask. Here are a few suggestions.
DURING the interview, make sure you put your best foot forward:
- Dress appropriately, arrive a few minutes early, and turn off your cellphone.
- Be friendly, use the interviewer’s name, smile and give a firm handshake.
- Convey enthusiasm, make good eye contact, and be aware of your tone of voice and posture.
- If appropriate, present a neatly displayed sample of your work.
- Speak clearly and concisely, and use appropriate grammar.
- Avoid mentioning personal issues.
- Don’t criticize former employers, teachers or co-workers.
- Explain why you would be a strong fit for the position and for the organization.
- Expect the unexpected, such as oddball interview questions.
- Toward the end, ask the questions you prepared ahead of time that haven’t yet been answered, and ask these two other final questions.
- Close by assuring the manager of your strong interest in the position and thanking him or her for their time; then ask what the next steps are. (When will the manager decide whom to hire and how will you be notified, one way or the other?)
- Do NOT close by saying you think you are the perfect fit for the job. Without knowing who your competition is, you can’t be sure of that and saying so indicates you reach conclusions without knowing all of the facts.
If you follow these steps, you will have given yourself the best shot possible of getting a job offer.