Congratulations! You have been selected for an interview!
By Saralyn Mitchell
Receiving a call for an interview means that your resume, cover letter and online brand were impressive; you’ve landed an interview with your company of choice. Interview preparation is a must and the key to your success. You must be your best to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. Here are my top interviewing and follow-up keys to success.
1. Do your homework and research the company before you meet. Read everything you can find about the company and the job — from public sources, the company web site, Facebook, LinkedIn, and anything they send you. Study the written job description and the requirements for candidates. Interviewers expect candidates to know this material.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice. Prepare clear answers to expected interview questions. Google “interview questions” and you will find many great lists of possible questions. Practice answering questions with a friend or in front of a mirror. Ask your friend to give you constructive criticism on your speaking style, mannerisms, and poise. Take advantage of mock interview opportunities with your college career services.
3. Be Yourself and Listen. Being yourself is important in the interview. You will be more relaxed and comfortable and it will come through in the answers to the interview questions. You shouldn’t hide your personality or put on a very stiff and formal interview style. Obviously, your business self is probably a bit different from your social self. So “be yourself” really means “be your business self.” Also, be a good listener during the interview. If you are not paying attention, you will not give a good answer.
4. Be prepared to ask questions. Thoughtful questions show the interviewer you’re thinking deeply about the job. They show you’re a serious candidate. Asking the right question during an interview is almost as important as giving good answers. Not asking good questions suggests a lack of interest. For example, you might ask about the challenges of the job. What are the main projects on which you’ll be working? What are the main goals of the department? Write them down in your portfolio before the interview. It is appropriate to refer to them during the interview when there is an opportunity to ask questions.
5. Interview Follow-up. Your follow-up should start at the interview itself. Make sure you get the interviewer’s business card before you leave, as well as the names and contact information for other people you’ve met. Before you leave, ask the interviewer how the hiring process will proceed. When are they likely to make a decision? Is there any more information they will need from you?
Send the interviewer a thank-you note saying that you appreciate the person taking the time to talk to you, emphasizing your continuing enthusiasm for the job and the value you can bring to the organization. A personal, handwritten note is best; or in today’s world you can send a timely e-mail. Be sure to send within 24 hours of the interview.
Call and inquire if you don’t hear back after the interview. Your call shows that you are interested and raises your name again.