Know How to Interview
As you job search, your networking contacts will help you to find job leads. These job leads will turn into interviews. Are you prepared to turn those interviews into job offers? Be prepared to respond to common questions. Find someone to practice with. That person can give you feedback on your responses.
The Career Information System's ReNEW has sample interview questions. The Jobseeker Success Mindset Training has very specific tips for doing well during the whole interview process. This is in Module 4.
Setting up job interviews
Think about what you are going to say before you pick up the phone to call an employer. You want the employer to think of you as a good future employee. You will have about 20 seconds to make the employer want to meet you. Therefore, what you say has to be brief, to the point, and convincing.
Preparing for an interview
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. You might need to fill out paperwork before the interview.
- Go by yourself. If a friend or relative drives you, have them wait in the car.
- Wear an interview outfit that matches what you will wear on the job.
- Bring your sense of humor and smile.
What to bring to an Interview
- Extra copies of your resume, your references, and portfolio with work samples.
- Papers needed to complete your application including copies of work licenses, your driving record (if required), and your social security or immigration cards.
- Questions for you to ask during the interview.
During the interview
- Display confidence. Shake hands firmly, but only if a hand is offered to you first.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
- Let the interviewer start the conversation.
- Listen carefully. Give honest, direct answers.
- Accept all questions with a smile, even the hard ones.
- Think about your answers in your head before you talk. If you don't understand a question, ask to hear it again or for it to be explained. You don't have to rush, but you don't want to appear indecisive.
After the interview
The job interview is not over when you leave the meeting. You have one more chance to impress the employer. Follow up the interview with a thank-you letter. (See “Follow Up” in ReNEW Job Search.)
Send a thank-you letter or note to each person who interviewed you. Your letter should have these main ideas:
- Thank them for their time.
- Say you are interested in working for them.
- Briefly say why you are qualified for the job.
- Give any information that you forgot to say in the interview.
- Add a final "thank you" for the chance to interview.
- Say how you plan to follow up.
If you told the interviewers that you would give them additional information, make sure that you do. Keep track of when you said you would contact this employer to find out if you were hired. Don't forget to make that contact.
Some Reasons Why People Don't Get Hired After an Interview
- Application form or resume is incomplete or sloppy
- Arriving late for the interview
- Didn’t ask questions about the job
- Failure to express appreciation for interviewer's time
- Lack of interest and enthusiasm
- Lack of maturity
- Lack of planning for career; no purpose and no goals
- Negative attitude about past employers
- Nervousness or lack of confidence and poise
- No genuine interest in the company or job
- Overemphasis on money
- Overly aggressive behavior
- Poor personal appearance
- Responding vaguely to questions
- Unwillingness to start at the bottom