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10 Most Important Tips for a Successful Interview
- Ensure you are thoroughly informed about the position and the organization before your interview. Whenever possible get a job description or review the details of the position. You should know approximately what the salary range is for the position (particularly if going through an agency). Research the organization and affiliations. Be aware of recent mergers, activity, downsizing, growth, and competition. Be aware of all products and services. Know at least some of the key names within the organization. However, do not use this information too readily. It may intimidate the interviewer!
- Take copies of your resume, reference letters, performance appraisals, samples of work, transcripts of education and any other information you have in order to present yourself positively. Make sure you are familiar with all dates and information on your resume. Be prepared to go into detail and to answer specific questions which may relate to situations you have had to handle; for example a conflict with a co-worker, or where you may have had several people needing work done at the same time (sometimes called Behavioural Interviewing).
- Make sure you know the exact location and how to get there. Allow for extra time in case of traffic or transit problems. Do you know where to park? Are you familiar with the transit route? Get there five or ten minutes early.
- Dress should be appropriate, businesslike and conservative. Grooming should be impeccable. Invest in one or two business suits with coordinating shirts/blouses, well-heeled shoes and a briefcase (Pantyhose is a necessity for women). Always look successful.
- When meeting the interviewer, give a firm handshake, address your interviewer by name, smile and make eye contact. Answer questions in a conversational but professional manner. Keep your responses pertinent to the questions. You may be asked to talk about yourself, but keep your entire life history to non-business situations! An interviewer is interested in how you and your experience best suit the position and the company. Do not take notes, and do not be concerned if your interviewer takes notes. Never speak negatively about present or previous work situations.
- At the end of the interview, you may have an opportunity to ask questions. Express enthusiasm and interest in the company and the position. Thank the interviewer for their time. You may ask what the next step would be in their hiring process. Do not discuss money/salary during the interview, or ask about benefits and vacation, unless the interviewer introduces these subjects. End the interview with a handshake.
- A follow-up note or thank you letter sent after the interview if you are interested in the position and organization is a good way to keep your name visible. A follow-up call within a week is a good idea if you have not been contacted. Even if the position is not perfectly suited to you, the organization could be hiring for another position shortly, so always leave a positive impression.
- If an agency arranged the interview for you, call them immediately. It is important for the agency to get your response about the position before they talk to the employer. A positive response from you can often lead to a positive response from the employer. Keep in touch with your agency.
- Always create a positive impression when interviewing. Do not make any decisions about whether you want this opportunity during the interview. Give yourself time to process all the information. Often there are other positions available that may be more suited to you, and this is your opportunity to prove yourself. Get the job offer. You can always say no, but leave the door open for the future.
- Many interviews are not successful because the applicant decides during the interview process that they do not want the position. This is often based on trivial factors such as: getting lost on the way to the interview, not liking the personality of the interviewer, not having the correct information about the job/salary/benefits and a variety of other miscellaneous factors. Interviewers respond negatively to this; consequently the “chemistry” is not right, and the interview does not result in a job offer. BE POSITIVE!