Do you have some unrealized career aspirations? Looking after a busy family can force you to put your own dreams on hold–perhaps you’re ready for this to change. Maybe you are thinking of applying for a promotion or a trying a new career field all together. If so, then you’ll need to hone your interview skills. Beth Gibson, twenty year communications veteran, speech writer, and Director of Community Outreach for GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, and I have four tips to ensure your success.
1. Dress for success.
Wear your best professional outfit, even if the job you’re interviewing for allows casual clothing during the regular work day. This shows your potential employers that you care about their impression of you.
2. Do your homework.
Find out about the person, company, or school with whom you are interviewing. Know the names of people and know something about daily routines. Be sure to bring this knowledge to the forefront in the interview. Again, taking the time to research the company shows you care. It also gives you a chance to discuss specific ways that you can help this firm grow. You need to make sure that they see you as a strong asset that they don’t want working for the competition.
“They will ask you questions about why you want to work there,” says Gibson. “Make sure you have an answer that has nothing to do with yourself. Think about how you will help the company.”
Talk about how your work history as it pertains to the company. Be specific when you answer their questions, but try to work in your expertise. Give examples of how your past experience will help this company should they opt to hire you.
“Know something about the day-to-day operations of your potential employer so you can relate something about your past experiences that will grow the business.”
3. Take full advantage of that final question.
Interviewers will always ask if you have questions for the panel. Ask a question that relates to the company, not to your own personal gain.
“This is my secret interview weapon—close the interview with a question along the lines of `Should I be hired for this position, what books or resources should I read to better prepare myself to help the company? Is there a person I should talk to? A potential mentor that will help me better myself?’” says Gibson.
She states firmly that questions about salary, days off, sick leave, and other topics of that nature are better left to Human Resources. Do NOT use the interview to find out this information.
“That’s what Human Resources is for!” she says.
4. Write thank you notes to the interview panel.
This may seem old-fashioned, but it makes a lasting impression. There’s something to be said for good, old-fashioned manners. If you are competing against many other candidates, this will help keep you in the forefront of everyone’s mind as they make their choices. Even if you are not chosen, it’s wise to keep in contact and network with different employers. If you’ve remembered each of these interview tips, then you’ve obviously made a good impression. You never know which opportunity is just around the corner!