A job interview is your prospective employer's chance to learn a lot more about you than what may be covered in your resume. When seeing you in person, your prospective employer has a chance to see how well you'll fit in, how well you communicate, what your personal style is like, and so on The fact is that during an interview your personality comes through and this may be more important than any "cold" qualifications that you may otherwise also possess. Make sure that you do your homework prior to showing up in person. This will make quite a difference for you at the time of your interview.
Here are some strategies that may help you out when you need it most:
- Study the company: don't overlook this step, as it is a mistake not to be aware of what your company's current positions are with respect to things in general. Knowing things along these lines is going to let you answer questions that will pertain to your application. Your interviewer will also know that you have done your research, and this indicates that you have a real interest in the job. This is an excellent strategy.
- Be yourself: don't try to be something you are not. This is not a time to act. If you in any way or shape or form hide who you really are, this will backfire on you in due course. And don't overlook the fact that insincerity shows up rather quickly. Make sure you are sincere in all that you present about yourself.
- Prepare an interview emergency kit: what a kit is open to a variety of things, but basically, it's this: have extra copies of your resume on hand; have pen and paper ready, a bottle of water is a good idea, too, etc. Using a portfolio for these various items is good as well.
- Know your resume: this may sound silly, but it's not. You should have a thorough knowledge of all that's in your resume so that you never hesitate when it comes to answering questions put to you. If you can speak intelligently and to the point about the things listed in your resume, your credibility will shine through with flying colors.
- Study your job description: this is very important. Once you know that you will be interviewed, you should make it your business to anticipate all that your interviewer is likely to ask you. If the job you want to land emphasized attentiveness to details, for example, it's a good thing to know in advance. Whatever else may be of relevance, study up on it, so that nothing will surprise you in an unpleasant way at the time of the actual interview.
- Build rapport: this is a very important strategy as well. This can start with simple things, like your handshake, or eye contact and smile. Remember you can't make a first impression the second time around. The moment of meeting is where it all starts.
- Body language: there is such a thing. And proper body language starts by mirroring the person you are talking with/to. Show confidence without getting to be overbearing. Your interviewer will see you in all aspects of your demeanor, so stay calm but also show enthusiasm.
- Make eye contact: eye contact is a really crucial aspect of communication in general. Don't look away, as this may make you look shifty and dishonest. Remember the old saying about the eyes being the mirrors of the soul. There is truth to that old observation.
- Display your skills with concrete examples: Don't tell - show. This is advice given to writers, but it's also a good strategy when it comes to an interview. A concrete example speaks louder than many vague words, and it shows that you know how to communicate well, too. Don't just say that you can do something, indicate something about that ability during the interview that will emerge as proof of what you are claiming.
- Follow up without delay: Once you are done with the interview, it is of paramount importance to send a thank-you note. You may do this by means of an e-mail today, but at times a traditional handwritten note may be the most impressive. Do this the day following the interview. This is no time to waste time.
Knowing all that you may have to say about yourself ahead of time is a good strategy. The idea is to sell yourself to your prospective employer. Again, keep in mind that you never want to be overbearing in this. The ball is in your interviewer's court - so you are there to basically cooperate with him or her. If you respond well to questions, this will showcase your talents well, too. Though this is not a ball game, you might still get a curve ball coming at you now and then, so be prepared, and you shall not be surprised unpleasantly. Know yourself - that ancient concept is still valid today.