Preparing for the Job Interview
Interviewing can be an enjoyable part of the job search process. The trick is to prepare ahead of time, go in with confidence, and relax. The purpose of a job interview is twofold: A company is trying to determine if you are right for the job, and you are trying to find out if the job is right for you. You can make a good impression and take advantage of the time you have with the interviewer by doing a little homework.
Research the Company
The more you know about the company, the better you will appear in the interview. Find out as much as you can about the company and its products. If possible, talk to people who work at the company. They can give you information about the atmosphere and office politics, even if they don't work in the same department. Don't despair if you don't know people at the company. There are many other sources of information, especially if the company is publicly traded. Always look up their web site and read through it thoroughly taking notes on salient points to show your knowledge during the interview.
Get Ready, Get Set...
Most job interviews follow a pattern: First you answer questions about your experience and qualifications, then you ask questions about the job. Rehearse answers to common interview questions, and prepare a list of questions to ask. Make sure all your interview materials are up-to-date before you leave for the interview. Bring several copies of your resume, a list of references, work samples or other forms of performance documentation, pens and paper. Dress professionally, yet conservative.
Arrive early on the day of the interview to fill out any application materials.
Try to make a strong first impression with everyone you meet at the company, not just the interviewer, since several people could have a say in filling the job. Experts generally agree that within 30 seconds your interviewer has already formed an impression about you, so make that time count. Arrive on time, give a firm handshake, look the interviewer in the eye, smile and introduce yourself.
You're Not Finished Yet
The interview is done, but there is still more you can do to make a good impression. Always follow up a job interview with a thank you letter. Refer back to the interview, and emphasize how your skills fit the position. Now comes the hardest part: waiting for an offer or another interview. Call the interviewer for an update if you haven't heard anything in a week. Persistence counts when looking for a job.