Tips for a Job Interview
An interview is the final stage of your job search. At this point you have already printed your resume and cover letter which display your career objective and skills. The interview is your sales presentation dialogue allowing you to expand on the information described in your resume and to ascertain how you fit the job requirements.
The interview is your opportunity to provide more detailed information about yourself, your experiences, and your ambitions. It is an opportunity to impress the employer in a favorable manner, as well as an opportunity to obtain more information about the particular job and particular firm. After the interview, you should be able to determine if the job is desirable and suitable for your goals. Remember, you are interviewing the organization just as much as they are interviewing you.
The interviewers goals are to gather more information about you, so he/she can determine how well your qualifications match the job requirements and how well your personality fits with the department and the organization. The interviewer wants to sell the organization and the job to all the candidates in order to entice the best person to work for the organization.
Often, there are two types of interviews: (1) screening interviews and (2) subsequent interviews. During a screening interview, the company is determining whether or not you meet the preliminary requirements of the position. This interview is usually one-half hour to one hour in length. Your objective is to promote yourself so that you will be asked to return for subsequent interviews which will be longer in length. Job offers are rarely made during screening interviews.
During subsequent interviews, you are being seriously considered for the position. Often you are interviewed by several people, some of whom may be approval interviewers. These managers and supervisors may be from other departments of the firm that you will be working with.
Your strategy during subsequent interviews must be to meet the interviewers objectives which are to determine which candidate can best meet the company’s needs. The interviewer is assessing your competency, compatibility, and suitability with the organization. He/She is trying to determine:
- Is this person able to perform the specific functions and technical requirements of the position?
- Will this person fit in with other people in the organization?
- Does this person have the background and ability to relate to the company’s mission and goals?
Based on this criteria, your objective before subsequent interviews is to get as much information as you can on each of these areas to match yourself to the position and the organization. If you are well prepared, you may be able to obtain a job offer.
Based on your research, prepare several questions about the company that you can ask during the interview. Bring the written questions with you to the interview in case you forget to address the issues that you think are important. In addition, prepare answers to anticipated questions about you and your background, especially more difficult or sensitive questions.
Dress professionally. Plan to arrive about 15 minutes early. Check in with the receptionist about 5 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. If you arrive too early do not rush your interviewer, wait in the car or at a nearby coffee shop.