“We’d love to have you come in for an interview,” the voice on the other end says. You’ve got an interview; go ahead celebrate! You’re one step closer to becoming a paid employee. So, now what do you do? The initial job interview can be a little intimidating, but lucky for you, the interview can go pretty smoothly with the right guidance.
What to wear
Let’s talk about attire. I’m sure you have heard some variance of “dress for the job you want.” It’s very simple, but if you’re still having trouble let me break it down. Appropriate attire includes, but is not limited to:
- Business suit
- Collared dress shirt with necktie
- Dress slacks
- Business skirt or dress
Just remember to stay away from jeans, t-shirts, flip-flops, shorts, and anything too loose or tight fitting. Be sure to feel comfortable while still looking professional.
Before the interview
Rehearse and research. Research the company you will be working with and the position you have applied for. Familiarize yourself with basic policies and rules and with the basic tasks that your job will require. Also, don’t be afraid to stage an interview between yourself and the mirror.
Before the big day, make it a point to visit the location of your interview. This way you can plan ahead for traffic and take the easiest route. Be there about 15 minutes early in order to plan ahead for any mishaps on the way. Be sure to eat a good breakfast and have a good night’s sleep; you need to be alert and ready to get that job!
Being a good interviewee is all about being prepared. Preparation and confidence will impress potential employers. Be sure to bring in a copy of your resume with you so that you can follow along with the interviewers. This way you will know exactly what they’re referring to and you can clarify any questions they have about it.
The big question employers like to ask is “Why are you interested in (this position/company)?” For the position, answer by listing the attributes you like best and talk about the experiences you’d like to gain from it. For the company, use your research and let them know what has attracted you about it. They will often follow this question with more personal questions like:
- "What is your greatest strength/weakness?”
- “What contributions could you make to this company?”
- “How would you describe yourself?”
- “Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it.”
These questions are not there to frighten or discourage you. Answer them to the best of your ability and always remember why you’re the best fit for the company.
Remember to look interested, put your cell phone away, smile politely and always begin and end with a firm handshake. This is your chance to really emphasize what you couldn’t communicate in your resume. They offered an interview, but you’re going in there for the job!