Bringing Your Best for Interview Success

Whether it’s a phone, video or in-person interview, it’s all about leaving the interviewer with a positive impression. It’s about being memorable! How can you achieve this? We’ve outlined the key steps you can take to ensure success in your next interview. 

Research, Research, Research

1) Research the company. Learn about the organization’s mission and vision, read the latest news about the organization and be familiar with the individuals interviewing you. You should also feel comfortable explaining how your experience relates to the role. Still feeling unsure ahead of the big day? Here’s a quick video to build your interview preparation checklist. 

2) Practice with common interview questions. You won’t know exactly what the interviewer will be asking, but you can prepare answers to common questions like, “What interests you about working here?” and “Tell me about yourself.” Interviewers want to know if you can do the job, so prepare some specific examples that highlight your skills in action. Reviewing the job description will help you identify the qualities that are key to the position. Check out this video on answering interview questions to help you figure out how to frame those questions with your experience. 

Preparing for the Big Day

1) Plan your day in advance. For on-site interviews, check out the route ahead of time and factor in extra time for traffic to ensure you’re arriving with adequate time. For phone and  video interviews, find a quiet, distraction-free room with strong internet connectivity. This can be any room in your house, but make sure spouse, children, pets, and/or roommates cannot distract you here. Be sure to test your tech in advance to ensure it is working properly. 

2) Dress the part no matter your interview format. If you’re unsure about what to wear, research the company culture. A good rule of thumb is to be dressed one level above what the company norm is. If business casual without jackets is the norm, it would be appropriate to include a blazer or tie for your interview. Be groomed and dressed as if you are interviewing in person even if it’s over phone or video. No, the interviewer probably won’t see that you’re in your pajamas pants — but dressing the part means you’re more likely to act the part in the interview. 

3) Be fully ready 10 minutes prior to your interview with the job description, your resume, and your post-interview questions available for a quick glance. 

During the Interview

1) Answer the phone professionally. “Hello, this is (your name),” is a good approach that lets the interviewer know that they have reached the right person. 

2) Smile. You may feel a bit awkward doing this at first, but it will make the tone of your voice more friendly, and friendly people make great coworkers. 

3) Be present in the interview – this is not the time for multitasking. If your interviewer can hear you moving around in the background, you will appear distracted, and you could be written off as uninterested in the position. If another call comes in during your interview, send it to voicemail.

4) Always ask questions at the end of the interview to show you are engaged and seeking to learn more about the organization and role. Be sure to ask what the next steps are and when you can expect to hear from them again. 

After the Interview

1) No matter how you feel it went, send a quick email thanking the interviewer for their time. Let them know that you look forward to speaking with them again soon and re-iterate your interest for the position. You can download a ‘thank you’ note template here to get you started!

2) If you have not heard from your interviewer in a week, it is okay to follow up. Give them a call. If you do not reach them, leave a voicemail and a secondary follow up message (email or text). 

3) If they call and let you know they are not moving forward with you, remain professional and thank the interviewer again for their time. Ask if they have any feedback for how you can better sell yourself next time, and consider their advice in your next interview. 

Interviewing is a learned skill, and one you can always improve! Take a look at this Interview Success Guide for a deeper dive into the topics we shared above. Hire Heroes USA provides one-on-one mentoring services focused on a variety of topics including interviewing. If you are interested in setting up a Mock Interview with one of our professional mentors, sign up here!

At the end of the day, people hire people they want to work with. Let your personality show through. Remember, it’s okay to be a little nervous, it means you care about the outcome. Acknowledge the nerves then take a breath and power pose! Focus on enjoying the conversation, connecting with the interviewer and building a relationship. Good luck!

This blog was written in collaboration with the Client Services Blog Team, Kayla Hayden and Kyla Hensley. If you are interested in receiving free career support with Hire Heroes USA, click here to learn more.