1. Research the job or organization.
Find out basic information about the organization. Not only will this show you care about the company, but it will also help you come up with questions to ask your interviewer. Make sure you know the mission, culture, and current needs of the organization. Start following target organizations on social media as long as possible before applying. It will only benefit you in the interview to be familiar with the company’s website, social media page, reviews, etc. LinkedIn and Glassdoor are both good outlets for research as well.
2. Dress in professional attire.
Before your interview, the last thing you want to do is stress out about your outfit. To avoid this, have your interview attire ready before you start job searching. Stick to a professional outfit that’s classic and clean-cut. Colors such as white, black, blue, navy, or red are often considered business-appropriate. In addition to attire, make sure you’re well-groomed. Clean hair that is kept out of your face can make a big difference.
3. Remember to smile.
Smiling not only helps you to relax, it will help your interviewer(s) relax as well. Smiling when you have a conversation with someone will showcase your personality. The fact is, people are more comfortable around you when you smile.
4. Use the S.T.A.R. method when answering questions.
When answering questions, first ask yourself, “What was the situation of XYZ? What was the task? What action did you take? What was the result?” This method of Situation, Task, Action, and Result (S.T.A.R.) will help you remember to stick to the point when answering questions, while touching on the points your interviewer wants to know about. Your interviewer is looking for specific examples of accomplishments and results that relate to the job you’re applying for.
5. Practice interviewing with someone beforehand.
Practice the following classic and behavioral interview questions and know what you are going to say:
1) Tell me about yourself. (Think professional self, not autobiography since birth.)
2) What are your strengths?
3) What are your weaknesses?
4) Give an example of a time you set a goal and achieved it.
5) What is your long-term dream?
6) Give an example of a time you used logic when problem-solving.
7) Why are you leaving your current job?
You can also research online on how to answer these questions. There are good and bad answers. You should be able to rattle off a good answer without having to think about it, because you practiced.
6. Ask relevant questions.
Yes, think of your job interview as an opportunity for you to learn something. You’re not only there to answer questions but to ask them, too. This is your chance to see if the company and job are a good fit. At the end of an interview, there’s usually time to ask a few questions, but also be ready to ask select questions during an interview.
7. Arrive early.
This one might sound obvious, but arriving early and planning your route the night before will help alleviate stress. Plan to get to your interview ten minutes early.
8. Turn off your phone.
The last thing you want to be interrupted by is your own phone. Either turn it off or leave it in the car. When you’re waiting for the interview to begin, don’t sit on your phone. Being on your phone does not say ‘mature and prepared.’
9. Bring at least two copies of your resume and cover letter.
Bring an extra hard copy or two of your resume; this could be a huge favor to the interviewer if he or she forgot to bring one. It always pays to be prepared and carry extra copies of your resume with you. Think of investing in a professional black leather portfolio in which you can carry your resume, a nice pen, and a notepad.
10. It’s never too early to have your own business card.
While this might sound surprising, a business card with your name and basic contact information is handy and professional at any age. Websites such as Avery or Vistaprint will even let you design your own cards using a template and print them for free. That way, creating your own card is quick and easy.
11. Learn how to shake someone’s hand.
Don’t have a ‘dead fish’ handshake. Be firm, but not crushing. You should also make eye contact when you shake someone’s hand. Yes, there is much to learn about these seemingly simple things, so look it up and then practice.
12. Watch your body language.
After the handshake, your body language while sitting in an interview speaks volumes. Work on speaking with confidence, sitting up straight, and being engaged.This goes for smiling, too. Some experts suggest your actions and countenance should match the interviewer. Also, as long as you’re thinking, be okay with an awkward silence. It can be good to think about a difficult question for a minute before answering.
13. Always send thank you notes!
Even if you do not want the job or absolutely bombed the interview, send thank you notes to each person with whom you had contact. Send plain, handwritten thank you notes via mail as well as e-mail notes. Send a thank you note to the person at the front desk, too.
14. Pray for wisdom, do your best, and give God the rest.
Last but not least, this tip is the most important one. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, ESV)
The following Crown College Faculty and Staff volunteered their top interview tips:
Darren Noble, Director of Career Services
Melessa Henderson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Martha Swift, Director of Student Engagement