“I’m so nervous when I go on interviews. I never know what questions they’ll ask.”
“I hate going on interviews.”
“I know what I want to say during an interview but what comes out is mush.”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? No matter what your age, you can be confident in interviews by following three easy steps.
Prepare. Before the interview, get to know the company—what it does, who it serves, its competitors, its suppliers, its senior officers, and the reasons you should be the one they hire. The company’s website will have answers to these items. Know your résumé and have a story to tell about every bullet point on it—interviewers remember people who can talk about their strengths and how they relate to the job. It also helps to know how to answer common interview questions.
Practice. Practice interviewing in support groups, job clubs, workshops, or with a friend. You will only get better, and you’ll be able to eliminate mistakes. Proper attire depends on the job, so make sure several interview outfits are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Learn more about proper attire here. Don’t overlook personal hygiene—hair, teeth, hands/nails.
Execute. When you know the name of the interviewer, research him or her on the Internet to see if you have anything in common to talk about. Take at least five copies of your résumé with you, and arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment. Turn off all electronic devices and do not check your phone for messages or e-mails. Stand and wait to be escorted into the interviewer’s office; once inside, wait to be seated until the interviewer directs you where to sit. When it’s your turn, ask relevant job-related questions of the interviewer. At the end of the interview, get the interviewer’s business card and promptly send them a thank-you message, making sure to spell their and the company’s name correctly.
Every interview is an opportunity to improve. After each, ask yourself, ‘What can I do better? What did I do well? What should I stop doing?’ By combining those learning experiences with these best practices, you’ll find that you can master interviews. Learn more about interviewing and get more career advice on Goodwill’s GoodProspects site.
Ginny Neumer works for Goodwill Keystone Area’s Community Service Employment Program, and uses her experience as a former human resource generalist to teach people job-search skills for today’s job market.