An interview is the most important part of your job search. Thoughtfully preparing strong answers to common questions and practicing those answers will help you successfully communicate to the interviewer(s) that you are a good fit for the company. Here are some tips for successful interviews:
- Prepare for the interview. Don’t wing it and assume you’ll be able to come up with great answers on the spot. A job interview is often a stressful situation and being unprepared will make it harder to effectively communicate key information about yourself and your experience.
- Learn all you can about the company—pay attention to the company’s mission and goals. You can review the company’s website, talk to friends and family who may be familiar with the company, or connect with someone who works there. Craft your questions and answers to hit on what’s important to the company.
- Carefully review the job description and identify what skills the company is looking for. Create a list of your experiences (both through employment and volunteering), skills, and accomplishments that align with these requirements.
- Review common interview questions and prepare short but specific examples from your previous experience that demonstrate how you have achieved results. These are often called power statements. To do this, share a few details to describe the situation, list the actions you took to solve the problem, and share the outcomes. These statements can demonstrate how your skills, experience, and accomplishments will help the company succeed.
- Ask someone to help you practice interviewing. Consider those who work in the same field or who are familiar with the kind of position for which you are applying. Practice every aspect of an interview as much as possible—introductions, questions, and how to end the interview. If your interview will include multiple interviewers, be sure to practice a panel interview.
- Identify a few questions you could ask the interviewer(s) at the end of the interview. These questions should be focused on the needs or goals of the employer and show your interest in the company. Be prepared to respond with how you can meet those needs.
- Be on time and dress professionally for the interview. If there’s ever a question of if the interview’s dress code is business professional or business casual, you always want to lean towards more professional attire. Don’t forget—this still applies for video interviews!
- Take notes during the interview or shortly after so you can remember what the interviewer(s) said and what they emphasized about the position. You especially want to make sure you capture the names and titles of the people in the interview so you can follow up with them later.
- Send thank-you messages after your interview. Sending a message over email means that the interviewer will receive it quickly, rather than receiving a card in the mail several days later. It also keeps you in front of the interviewer and gives you an opportunity to restate your fit for the company.