Knowing how to handle each stage of a job interview is critical to your success. How you dress yourself, the things you bring, your greeting to the interviewer, and the way you communicate can all impact the potential success of the interview.
Be sure to review these job interview tips for all stages of a job interview to ensure that you are adequately prepared and making the best impression you can on the interviewer.
1. Be Prepared to do a Phone Screen/Interview
The phone call gives the hiring manager a chance to decide if they want to move forward with you as a candidate, and also whether they want to dedicate the resources to brining you in for an in-person interview (generally multiple people from the team will speak to you, so it is not something they want to be doing regularly).
Take the call somewhere that wont have an excessive amount of background noise, and while on the call, be energetic and engage. Just remember, a successful interview here will get you to the next stage of the hiring process, and this is all you can ask for at this point in the process.
2. Deciding What to Wear to an In-Person Interview
When dressing for a particular job interview, the way you present yourself is very important. This is all about your first impression on the interviewer; that is the one that stays in their mind, so it is very important to dress appropriately when interviewing.
Regardless of the job you are pursuing, you want your first impression to be great. If you are interviewing for a professional position, always dress in business attire (Tip: It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed). If you are applying for a job in tech, it’s still important to look your best, and to present a positive and respectful image to the potential employer. Business attire is not necessary but make sure your clothes are in good repair. Jeans and a shirt are alright, just avoid T-shirts with flashy logos or images on them.
If you are still not sure of what you should wear, don’t hesitate to reach out to the recruiter and ask what they recommend. The recruiter will usually include some dress code tips in their email when they invite you for an onsite interview.
3. Things You Should Bring to an Interview
It is important to come to the interview prepared. Always bring a few copies of your resume and a list of references to offer the interviewer. Another thing to consider is a list of questions to ask the interviewer. You do not need to hand this over, but you should have at least 3-5 questions that you are prepared to ask them. This is expected and almost every interviewer will ask for your questions at some point during the interview.
If you are interviewing for a technical role, and you want to be able to show examples of your work, it is acceptable to bring a laptop or tablet to show things you have built or completed in the past. Be mindful of any NDAs your work may be subject to with a previous employer and don’t show anything that might be an issue later on.
Next, and equally as important, are the things that you should not bring into the interview. Don’t walk in with coffee or bottle of soda or water or anything else to eat or drink and never chew gum.
Be sure that your cell phone is turned off and put away. You do not want to be the one applicant that has a text or call interrupt the interview.
4. Arriving to the Interview
It is very important to arrive a few minutes early, or on time at the absolute latest. Know where you are going ahead of time and plan your travel time to ensure you are not late. It may be helpful to find a location nearby that you can go to first, like a coffee shop. This way you can arrive early and make sure you are calmed down and prepared before arriving at the interview location. Not allowing enough time and rushing to an interview will only cause extra stress that can easily be avoided by arriving early.
You may also want to confirm the interview the day before, so you are positive about when and where you need to arrive.
5. Greeting Your Interviewer
When you first arrive at the job interview, introduce yourself to the receptionist if one is there. Receptionists are often gate-keepers and making a good impression with them is important. Make sure to let them know who you are and who you are scheduled to speak with.
Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and introduce yourself. Be prepared for some small talk, but keep it brief. Follow their lead and let them guide the overall direction of the conversation.
6. Responding to Interview Questions
When responding to questions, listen carefully, take time to properly phrase your responses, and do not be afraid ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you are not sure what they are asking.
Be concise and don’t ramble with your responses. Be sure that your responses answer the questions while also highlighting the skills you have that are relevant to the job.
Remember that you are selling the interviewer on yourself as the best candidate for the job, so focus on your relevancy. Demonstrate why you are a good candidate, how you can do the job, what you can contribute, and how you will benefit the company if you’re hired.
7. Always Follow Up With a Thank You Note
Following up with a thank-you note is a necessary part of the interview process. Sitting down and taking the time to say thank you shows that you not only appreciated the interview, but that you are genuinely interested in the job.
The thank you letter should be short, no more than 3-4 sentences, and a hand-written letter goes a long way. An email can be quickly forgotten, while a hand-written letter may get left on their desk, and it will remind them of you throughout their day.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate – salary negotiation tips
Salary negotiation is a heavily overlooked part of the interviewing process, more than half of people do not negotiate salaries with their new employers. While it may feel uncomfortable to ask for more money, it is expected from the other side, so there is no need to feel anxious about it.
Always let them put out number first, and remember that in most circumstances you do not have to reveal your current salary. When at this stage, make sure you are mentally ready to commit to the job if they meet your requirements.