The Job Interview is the most important aspect of your search for a new career opportunity. The way you interview will determine whether or not you get a job offer. From the moment you walk in, the employer will begin evaluating you on a variety of levels: your appearance, your personality, and the way you express yourself, to name just a few. But if you are prepared, you’ll project a positive, professional image that will give you a big advantage over the competition.
Follow these suggestions to be your most effective in a face-to-face meeting with employers:
- Smile, be enthusiastic, and get there early.
The outcome of many interviews is decided during the first 10 seconds of the introduction. Greet the employer with a firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile. Project an enthusiastic, professional image right from the start. Characteristics that contribute to a professional image are: businesslike attire, self-confidence, maturity, a sense of humour, warmth, and prompt, concise answers to questions.
Arriving early makes a good impression. It shows appreciation for the employer’s time and allows you enough time to complete the required paperwork.
- Complete the application in detail. Be truthful.
Employers look at the way an application is filled out as well as the information on it. Think of it as your first assignment; an example of how you would perform on the job. Read the directions before writing. Fill in the form neatly and completely; don’t write “see resume”. Never misrepresent your education or work experience. Present only the facts. Always write the word “open” in the space for salary desired.
- Ask the employer to describe the job.
Take an active part in the interview. One way to start is by asking the employer to describe the job. Listen carefully and mentally note each duty mentioned. This tells you how to respond. Zero in on your experience and training that relate to the position.
- Explain how your past experience and qualifications will help you to do the job.
Include specific factors that qualify you for this position. Use examples of special achievements that will help the employer picture you successfully handling the job.
- A positive attitude helps.
A major factor in many hiring decisions is how well the employer gets along with the applicant. To develop a good rapport speak clearly, listen closely and show interest. When the employer says something that requires an answer, comment, smile, or nod…REACT! Body language is important too. Sit up straight in your chair, lean forward slightly and maintain eye contact.
- Ask meaningful questions about the position.
Many employers evaluate applicants by the questions they ask. Employers like specific questions about the nature of the job, the company’s plans and goals, and the abilities considered most important for the position.
- Answer questions by speaking in terms of the position whenever possible. Emphasize what you can do for the company.
Some employers ask very broad questions like “tell me about yourself”. Instead of talking about your childhood, family, or personal ambitions, mention specific accomplishments that show your abilities and determination to succeed in this job. Your answers should tell the employer why you would be an asset to the company, not why you need a job.
- If you want the job, ask for it.
Many employers feel that a desire for the position is just as important as the ability to do the job. A very effective interviewing technique is simply to ask for the job. One way to do this is to ask the employer, “Do you think I can do the job?” If the answer is yes, say “Great! When can I start?”
- Discuss salary after the employer mentions a figure.
Since you’ve written “open” in the space for salary desired, the employer may ask how much money you’re looking for. Respond by saying “I’m very interested in the position and I’d like to earn as much money as I’m qualified to earn. How much money would you offer someone with my qualifications?” If the employer makes a firm offer and you want the job, accept it on the spot. If you’re doubtful or undecided, ask for a day to think it over. Never refuse an offer of employment until you’ve had time to think about it.
- Say “thank you” in person and in writing, stating once again why you’d be an asset to the company and expressing your interest in the position.