Congratulations! You got the interview. The resume revision and job search paid off. Now it’s time to prepare for the interview process so that you conduct yourself with confidence. The checklist below will help you during your preparation.
1. Understand the interview process. Every company is different; therefore, every interview process varies. You can expect to have anywhere from one to three interviews before receiving a job offer — with some companies surpassing this number. There are many types of interviews, so it is important to know what to expect. Reach out to your company contact to learn what you can expect. It’s okay to ask these types of questions.
2. Prepare your portfolio. Everyone should have a portfolio to bring to an interview. Creating your portfolio gives you the opportunity to re-asses the job description and research the company/industry so that you can talk knowledgeably about your experience as it relates to the position during the interview. Your portfolio should include:
- a copy of the job description for which you are applying
- copies of your resume and cover letter to distribute to interviewees
- a list of references
- examples of your work
- information about the company/industry that you gained during research
3. Review common interview questions. Most interviews include common human resources questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What about this job interests you?” You can review the top 10 interview questions here and begin preparing your answers as they relate to the particular job.
4. Prepare your own questions. You should always enter an interview prepared to asked the interviewees questions when prompted. You may want to know about the company culture, the day-to-day activities of the position, or more about a topic brought up earlier in the interview. Asking questions displays your interest in the position and shows that you are an active listener.
5. Practice, practice, practice. Like anything else, practicing interview techniques will make you more comfortable during the actual interview. Set up mock interviews with family, friends, or mentors to rehearse your answers and increase your confidence.
6. Select an outfit. It is important to always look professional during an interview. Do not be afraid to call the company to identify the dress code; what you wear depends on the company culture. When in doubt, dress up.
7. Interview with confidence. With professionalism and modesty, demonstrate your ability to succeed in the position. Know what value you add to the company and be sure to highlight this throughout the interview.
Your work isn’t over after the interview. Be sure to actively follow-up with everyone you met during your interview with a brief thank you note. The note should thank the interviewer for their time and express your appreciation for the opportunity. Reinforce why your skills align with the company’s needs and let the interviewer know you look forward to hearing back from them.