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How to be Effective in Job Interviews

Updated on May 31, 2013

Why Interviews Matter

Creating a good-looking resume is the first step to getting a job. Once your potential employer reviews your resume and schedules an interview with you; well, now is where the real work begins. There are not many interview tips that will work for every job interview you'll ever go into. However, you should be yourself, be confidant, and be prepared. So how do you prep for something that's always different? You'll see. Here we'll split the interview into three parts. Preparation, Performance, and Post-Performance.

Preparation

Getting Ready for an Interview

What should you do before the interview? Here are a few tips that will help you be prepared for a job interview.

Do Your Homework

Find out about the company you are trying to get hired at. Go there if it is accessible to the public. Visit their website, call them, just see what it is they do. What type of people do they employ? What kinds of hours do employees work? What is the average wage? What are some tasks that you'll be required to perform day to day? Make notes! If you have unanswered questions then bring them and ask your potential employer at the interview. By knowing a bit about the company, and having good questions, you'll show commitment and really stand out from the other applicants.

Practice

Yes, it is important! Perfect Practice will Prevent Poor Performance. So try inviting a friend over and conduct a mock interview. Make a list of what you think they'll ask you and practice giving answers. You will be less flustered, and more focused if you have an idea of what's coming. List a few key things you want to mention about yourself during the interview. Read these over and over so you don't stumble over your words. Best of all, practicing is a real confidence-booster. If you try to convince your friends you are the best candidate over and over, eventually you'll start to believe it too!

Get Directions

Know where you're going. Drive or walk there a couple times so you remember the way. Make sure you can find your way to the rooms they are holding interviews in.

Check With References

Make sure you secure your references before going into an interview.

Gather Documents

Make sure you have everything you'll need for the interview the night before. Your resume, a sheet with references, a driver's license, social security card, passport, etc. Nothing is worse than rushing around in the morning trying to find your stuff when you know the interview starts soon.

Plan Your Appearance

From the moment you walk into an interview, you are being evaluated. Make sure you dress the part for the job you want to get. So, to prepare for the interview, think about what you are going to wear. Select your clothes and lay them out the night before.

Performance

The Interview

You've done it. You've finally secured an interview. It hasn't been easy by any means. It all comes down to the next fifteen minutes. That's right. You have fifteen minutes to convince your employer that your experiences, attitude, and skills make you the best fit for the job. So, how do you make sure that you perform to the best of your abilities?

Well, if you look you'll find an endless list of "Dos" and "Don'ts" when it comes to job interviews. While I won't be going through each and every thing you should and should not do, I will outline a few basic "Interview Etiquette" tips. You can never predict what will happen in an interview, but that's what you practiced for. Just mind your manners and do what you rehearsed.

Be Punctual.

This is probably the most important thing. No one likes to be kept waiting. (If you're especially late and miss your appointment altogether, you will most likely not get another chance.) An interview is when you should be on your best behavior. If you can't show up on time for that, you'll probably be late to work too.

Don't Send the Wrong Message.

Be aware of what you are saying through your body language. When you shake their hands, do so confidently. Have good posture. Be relaxed. It's normal to be a little nervous, but try your best not to let it show. Keep eye contact with your interviewer(s). Remember, if you act professional, you are more likely to leave a lasting impression.

Stay Positive.

Avoid from making negative remarks about yourself, previous jobs, or past employers. Don't complain about job-related tasks you had to do at your old job or responsibilities you didn't care for. Employers are looking for someone who is positive and contributes to the overall atmosphere of the office.

Focus on Your Strengths

Your interviewers are not expecting a perfect match. What matters most to employers is that you know your strengths and weaknesses and you have the right attitude.

Smile!

Smile during your interview. Don't force it or paste one on, just be natural.

Be Honest

When answering questions, tell the truth. Don't exaggerate either, you won't make the interviewers think you are smarter-most can distinguish lies from the truth.

Questions

Remember to ask the questions that you thought of. Remember the answers you prepared. Be poised and professional.

Post-Performance

Closing the Interview and Follow up

When the interview comes to it's close, it is very important for you to express your gratitude to all of the people who took the time to interview you. Be professional. Shake their hands, look them in the eye, smile, and say, “Thank You.”

When you return home, write thank you notes to each interviewer. Express thanks for them taking the time to conduct an interview with you. It isn't just good manners or a common display of grattitude, it shows the interviewers that you are genuine, and glad for the chance they gave you. Taking the time to write a note will show your potential employer you really are serious about the company and the position. Once the position is filled, even if you didn't get it, you could write another note; expressing your appreciation at being considered for the position. This leaves a good impression and, who knows? They might contact you when a new spot opens up.

While you are waiting to hear back on whether you got the job or not, they are probably interviewing more candidates. The process could take a while to finish. Most employers will usually give a time frame of when you can expect to hear back from them by. If they have not contacted you within this time, it's okay to make a professional call and check on how the progress is going.

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    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Great tips! Squidangel blessed :)