You Have Landed a Job Interview, What Next?
All the hard work filling in job applications has paid off and you have been invited to an interview. What do you now? First off congratulate yourself for getting this far, then focus on the next steps for success.
Now is the time to really research the company who has offered the interview. Go to the website and read all you can. Google the company and see if there has been any recent press good or bad. You will be gaining valuable information to be able to answer questions during the interview. It may also influence questions you have for the individuals conducting the interview.
If you need to travel for the interview, have a trial run of getting to the location. Factor in the time of day and amount of traffic/transport delay to get to the destination. Nothing is worse than being late. This will also familiarize you with the route and take some of the anxiety away from the interview day.
Note how employees are dressed, do they wear suits? Does the company have a dress code of all black for example? If there seems to be nothing that stands out make sure you are suitable dressed for the role you are applying. An office administrator will dress differently to a mechanic on the factory floor. Decide what you will wear the day before, make sure it is clean, pressed, looks fresh, appropriate and you are comfortable wearing it. This removes anxiety the day of the interview.
If your interview is online, prepare the space you will be interviewing in. Remove anything that may be distracting in the background or apply a filter. Make sure your family know you are not to be disturbed at that time. And do not forget to turn your phone off. Test your camera and microphone the day before to ensure everything is working properly. Check the online interview does not require a download to participate in, if it does download and test you know how to use it.
Print off the CV and application you made to the company; this is important. Nothing looks worse than being asked a question about an answer on an application and being met with a blank stare. Sometimes it can be months between application and being called for an interview. Refresh your memory about your answers and the questions that were asked on the application.
Get a good night's sleep so you are fresh the day of the interview.
Do something for yourself in the morning, something that makes you happy and relaxed. This will come across in your interview. Eat a good breakfast so you are feeling your best. Shower and practice good hygiene, taking care of yourself shows you will take care of the employer and colleagues.
Dress in your prepared cloths and show up early whether online or in person. You can always grab a coffee somewhere if you are early or take a coffee while you wait online. This means you are arriving cool, calm and collected, not frazzled from running late.
Before you walk through the door or start the online interview remember this: They already like you as a candidate or you would not be invited to interview. They already think you have the skill sets they need or they would not be inviting you to interview. Relax and let your personality shine through. That is what they are looking for a ‘fit’ for the company.
Always do the following:
- Make eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking. This can seem more difficult online but look directly into the camera when you are speaking.
- Take a deep breath before you answer the first question this will calm your nerves and ensure you do not ‘run out of steam’ answering your first question.
- Remember they already like you as a candidate, so smile!
- Take notes along the way if there may be something you wish to ask about at the end.
- If you need time to think about an answer, take it! Just say ‘that is a great question let me think about that for a minute’ before you reply. This is not a timed exercise, be calm and sure in your answers. Saying ‘I do not know’ because you are panicked is not good.
- Do say ‘I do not know but can find out for you’ if you don’t know the answer. This is open and inviting vs just shutting down. However never lie or make up a story to enhance your image you will be found out.
- Look at all the individuals in the interview as you are answering not just the person asking questions. You want to engage with everyone there and make a good impression.
- Do ask questions yourself! After all you may be working there and the fit has to be right for both parties.
Please do not do the following:
- Do not chew gum
- Do not look at the floor or anywhere else other than the person asking the questions and individuals interviewing.
- Do not fidget with your hands, hair or clothing. Sit up tall, and keep your hands quietly in your lap.
- Do not wildly gesture with your hands or be over animated. You may be nervous but try your best to breath deep and remember they already like you, be calm, be yourself.
- Do not smell of smoke
- Do not overdo the perfume, cologne or makeup
- Do not use slang or curse these individuals are not your mates.
- Do not ask about pay or benefits this is not the time. Most companies will send you a formal job offer if you are successful, that is the time to negotiate pay and benefits not during the interview process.
As the interview concludes
Make sure you ask any questions you may have jotted down during the interview which were not covered. This is your time to find out about the employer just as much as it is their time to find out about you.
Ask if they have any additional questions or concerns that they would like to ask you? You may also ask when they expect to make a decision if they have not covered it already. Thank them for their time, say how delighted you were meeting them, shake hands and leave.
As a follow up to the interview
If you have been in email contact with the HR department you could email and thanking them for the opportunity to interview with the company. This is a gentle reminder of who you are, shows you have excellent manners and might just get you personalized feedback if you are not successful on how you can improve your interview skills.
Best of luck to you!