Nailing the Interview
After submitting your resume and cover letter, the next step to employment is an interview. If you are lucky enough to get called for an interview, that means that the employer was impressed with your resume and cover letter, and is considering you as a candidate for the job.
Interviews are a key step in getting a job and, for this reason, can be nerve-wracking. It is important that you prepare thoroughly for your interview to ease your nerves. Although interviews will vary based on the job field, there are some questions that are almost always asked during an interview. Write down and practice your answers to these questions before the interview so that you feel well-prepared.
While the conversation you have with an employer is the most important element of your interview, you must also keep in mind that the interviewer will also be looking at your appearance and demeanor. It is usually best to dress in a professional manner, either a suit or a button down for males and dress pants or a skirt with a blazer for females. It is important to look as clean cut as possible on the day of your interview, and this can be achieved by keeping your hair neat, and shaving. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum, along with any perfume or cologne. You must also remember to maintain good posture throughout the interview and speak clearly.
Remember that this is not only an interview for the employer to get to know you, but it is also for you to get to know the employer. Ask relevant questions that will help you decipher if this is really the best job for you, such as what the team you’ll be working with is like, what they are looking for in a successful candidate, what opportunities there are to grow with the company, and so on. This is not the time to ask about salary. Let’s restate that again just to be clear: DO NOT ask how much you’ll be paid during the interview unless the employer volunteers it. You have not been offered the job yet, so discussing salary at this point makes the employer feel that you aren’t passionate about the position and only want a paycheck. The time to discuss salary is during the negotiation phase (which comes after the job offer is made).
Finally, be sure to thank the individual who interviewed you for his or her time upon your departure, and again the next day in an e-mail or small note. While this last step may feel a little outdated, it shows employers you know how to follow-through and are determined to give your best at even the little things.