4 Steps to Acing Your Interview

Recently I was searching for a new part time job and I quickly realized that I was not prepared. All of the jobs I have worked have been lifeguarding jobs and I wanted to branch out and gain more experience. I was working a lifeguarding job on campus but would no longer be able to work there after I graduate in December. I wanted to find another job off campus to gain more experience and guarantee I have a job after graduation. When I started my job search I thought it would be easy but quickly realized it wasn’t. After countless applications and many interviews I have a new job in marketing and I am excited to see where it takes me.

Throughout my experience I feel that I have become well educated in filling out applications and attending interviews. All of my interviews were one on one but these tips could easily be adjusted and applied to any interview setting. Since my interviews were for part time positions they were more laid back than they would be for a full time position so be prepared to step it up of your interviewing for a full time job.

Step #1 Preparation

Attire

It is important to look the part when going into an interview. Consider the job you are applying for and what you would be wearing on a daily basis to work. Invest in some interview attire that you only wear for interviews until you secure a job. This would ensure that your clothes look neat and clean and not run down. It is better to go into an interview over dressed than under dressed.  People often forget about shoes. Make sure that your shoes are polished and clean.

Research

Take time to look into the company before the interview. Check out their website and reviews of the company on other websites. Make sure you understand their mission statement and the products or services they offer. One thing I do is search the internet for employee reviews. Employees often review the company and their experience working there. Also look for recent news articles on the company. If anything bad has happened in the past it will most likely be covered in the news. Lastly make sure you fully know the job description and what the job entails. If there is something you are unclear of make a note of it so can ask about it during the interview. I will cover more about asking questions later on.

Another thing I do when looking into a company is directly ask employees questions. I applied for a job at target and ended up getting an interview. Before the interview I went to a different target location and ask and employee who was helping me. I asked simple non offensive questions that she was happy to answer. I simply informed her that I was thinking about applying to work there and was wondering what the staff experience was like. I was lucky she was happy to respond honestly but just be cautious as some employee will refuse to answer. I would also not recommend doing this in a small company.

Step #2 Right before the Interview

What to bring

Double check that you have everything you need before leaving for the interview. I always take a copy of my resume and/or the application, a small note pad and pen and a bottle of water. Also make sure that your pen is woking. When I arrive at my interview destination I take a small drink of water to make sure my mouth is not dry before the interview. When taking my resume I make sure that I have several copies of my cover letter, resume, and references. Having several copies would ensure that you have enough to give to everyone in the interview if there is more than one interviewer. Once again better to be over prepared than under.

Arriving

Never be late for an interview. I often map out the location then add 15 minutes for early arrival and add on an additional 20 or 30 minutes of travel time. That way if there is a traffic jam or road closure I have plenty of time to make it to the interview. If nothing occurs during traveling and I arrive very early I park in a parking lot near by and go over my questions I have prepared and make sure I have everything in order one last time. I also review information on the company and job description to make sure it is fresh in my mind. I generally arrive to the interview ten minutes early. This shows that you are time orientated.

Something else┬áto remember is to silence your cell phone. You don’t want it to start to ring or vibrate during an interview. It is also very important to keep it out of sight. If you arrive early to the interview keep it away while you wait. Look around you or at the receptionist. I often learn things that I wouldn’t have from the website.

Introduction

From the moment you walk into the building until you return to your car remember to be polite to every one and keep a smile on your face. People often reveal what they are thinking through facial expressions without realizing it. When walking into an interview be sure to introduce your self and shake hands with your interviewer.

Step #3 During the Interview

These tips are simple but often go unnoticed. Body language during an interview is very important and can be the deciding factor in the hiring process.

Posture

Sit up straight and be confident. Not only will it make you look better but it will show the interviewer that you are professional and interested. Slouching in your chair gives your interviewer the message that you are relaxed but to relaxed and possibly uninterested.

Show Expression

When the interviewer is talking nodding will show the interviewer you are interested and still listening. Also keep in mind your facial expression. Smiling and engaging through body language during the interview is very important.

Hand Gestures

Use hand gestures when speaking but don’t go over board. Also be aware of your surroundings so you do not hit anything.

Collect Information

Not only do you want to ask questions you have about the job and company but also contact information. Remember that note pad you brought into the interview, if you haven’t used it yet you will now. Get the name, phone number and/or email address of the person interviewing you. This may sound strange but keep reading to find out why this is important.

Step#4 After the Interview

The interview does not end until you drive off the lot. After the interview you get in your car and sit there, people may still be watching you from inside. Once you pull out of the parking lot and onto the road your interview is over.

Follow up

Later in the same day as the interview send a thank you email. Email the person or people who interview you. Simply tell them who you are and thank them for taking time out of their day to interview you and then inform them that you are looking forward to hearing from them soon and are also looking forward to hopefully working with the company.

Then if you do not hear back after a week follow up again with another email or a phone call. I personally call and once again thanking them. I feel that a phone call shows initiative and is more personal. It can help the interviewer remember you and then if they answer it forces them to talk to you and most often they will tell you the status of your application or if they decided to go with someone else.

YOU GOT THIS

At the end of the day going into the interview and knowing you did your best is all that matters. If you don’t get the job keep trying.

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