Do Your Homework
Find out as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing with. Study the company’s website; know the company’s history, mission, and values – these will tell you a lot about what they’re hoping to see in YOU as a potential employee.
Also, know your own numbers – ALL of them – and be prepared with a few stories of your personal track record of success. You will likely be asked open-ended questions like “When did you face a tough decision or problem, and how did you handle it?” – be sure to have SPECIFIC examples to give including the problem, your actions, and the results, not just general answers like “We worked harder”. Tell them about your successes, and exactly what you did to create them.
Make A Great Impression
Be likeable! Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be energetic and enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer’s name…. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself you possibly can.
Be sure to dress appropriately. Wear your best professional-looking suit – you want to look like you could be on the cover of a magazine. You only get one chance to make a great first impression!
Employers are looking for a positive, can-do attitude. Don’t create negative sound bites. Interviewers will only remember a few sound bites, especially negative ones. If you’ve never been in charge of training, don’t say, “I’ve never been in charge of training.” Say, “I did not fill that specific role, but I have trained dozens of new hires and created several training guides.” Basically, never say, “I can’t,” or “I haven’t,” or “I don’t.” Share applicable experience and find the positives in what you have done. No matter what the subject, be positive: Even your worst mistake can be your best learning experience.
Never trash-talk prior employers or bosses, either – no matter how bad the situation may have been. Don’t go into details about your unhappiness or dissatisfaction, and don’t make excuses for failure. Instead, tell them that while you valued the experience and education that you received, you felt that the time had come to seek out a new opportunity, to expand your skills and knowledge, and to find a company with which you could grow.
Use Good Etiquette
• Answer interview questions directly, stay on topic, and don’t ramble.
• Your cell phone should be turned off and out of sight.
• Don’t chew gum, or bring anything to eat or drink.
• Bring a list of references (with contact info) to offer the recruiter at the end of the interview.
• Be sure to follow up with a brief thank-you email.
• If they call and leave you a voice mail, return the call the SAME DAY – even if it’s late. Candidates who act like they’re interested get more offers!