You have received a call for an interview, and now the work of marketing yourself really begins. Your prospective employer already has an initial impression of you based on your application and résumé, and the interview is the chance to show in person what kind of employee and asset you will be for their company.
The following are interview tips on how to prepare, interview and follow-up:
Know your information. Learn as much as you can about the company. You should know general information about the industry and the type of work done there. Understand the qualifications and requirements of the job position and how you can best meet their needs based on your experience and education.
You should also know information about yourself very well. It may sound obvious, but you will want to easily reference your work experience in the past, and communicate your skills well. Consider positive and negative job-related experiences you have had and how you learned from those situations. Reflecting on this information will allow you to be better prepared for any challenging questions.
Prepare for the interview. Try to relax and do something to ease your nerves before your interview, such as taking a walk or listening to music. Dress as though it is your first day on the job or how you believe the managers and supervisors dress.
Be on time for the interview. Nothing is more unprofessional that arriving late. If you are unsure about where the interview is, try the directions to the location the day before. Leave extra early in case there’s a problem with parking.
During the interview. When you first are greeted by the interviewer or the interview panel, be sure to introduce yourself and shake hands with everyone. This will set a professional tone for your interview. If there is an interview panel, make eye contact with whomever asked you the question and then make eye contact with other panel members as you answer.
Listen carefully to the interview questions and ask for clarification if you are unsure about what you were asked. Try to keep your responses between 2-3 minutes and stay focused on your answer. If you are asked about a weakness or job separation issue, address the issue and then how you learned from the situation in a positive way.
Usually at the end of interviews, the interviewer will ask the candidate if they have any questions. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask anything that you would like to know about the potential job. You can ask about the qualities they are looking for or what their expectations are for the position.
Don’t skip follow-up. You can ask the interviewer for feedback about your interview. If the employer shares information with you, use it as a learning experience for your next interview. Always send thank-you letters to the interviewer or the interview panel. In your letter, emphasize any skills or qualifications that would apply to the position and include why you would like to work there.
For additional information about interviewing, résumé tips, and resources available to job seekers, visit the New Department of Workforce Solutions at www.dws.state.nm.us or the New Mexico Workforce Connection at www.jobs.state.nm.us.
This is a regular column written by the N.M. Department of Workforce Solutions. For more information, go to www.dws.state.nm.us.