You Got the Interview! Now What?

Julie Shenkman
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Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and certified/published resume writer with Resume to Referral. She’s authored several books, including How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book, 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer, and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.

There’s nothing more exciting (or frightening) than getting a telephone call from Human Resources. They want to talk to you. That A-1 resume caught somebody’s attention.

So, it’s time to get ready for the interview. This is where you have the opportunity to really shine – if you know what you’re doing. Before you go to that interview, here are some tips to ensure your success.

Be Prepared
You wouldn’t walk into a business meeting unprepared, would you? Of course not. Well, a job interview is a business meeting – a very important business meeting. So, prepare yourself.

First, review your resume. Make sure you can deliver what that resume promises. What was it that caught the eye of the resume reader? Your varied experience? Your extensive professional credentials?

Next, visit the company website, assuming they have one. Study it. What products are in the company pipeline? Who’s the new CEO? If you can talk about the company as though you’ve done your homework, you’ll make the positive impression you’re looking for.

Rehearsal Time
You know something about the industry or position you’re about to interview for, right? Put together a list of possible questions that an interviewer might ask. Typically, you’ll be asked to expand on the information contained in your resume.

Could you answer these questions off the top of your head?

What were your responsibilities in your last position?

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Where would you like to be professionally five years from now?

Why would you be a good fit for our company?

What would you describe as your biggest professional weakness?

What’s your opinion of the Flugan Flashmaster?

Okay, it may not be the Flugan Flashmaster, but what’s the latest, new big thing in your particular area of expertise? You should be up to speed on what’s going on in the industry and within the particular company that wants to talk to you.

Practice answering questions out loud so you can hear how you sound. You’re going for confident, assured and knowledgeable – always a winning combination in the job market sweepstakes.

Develop Your Own List of Questions
An interview shouldn’t be seen as an interrogation. It should be seen as a give and take. You answer questions, you ask questions.

Keep your questions focused on the position and its responsibilities. Avoid questions about vacation time and your 401k options until you’ve actually been offered the position.

Dress Nice
Men and women? A suit. Conservative, tailored, cleaned and pressed. Women should avoid large pieces of jewelry and men should avoid attention-grabbing ties. The focus should be on you, not on your favorite cartoon character. Don’t wear perfume, cologne or after shave. Get a haircut or visit the salon to look your best.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
If you’re out partying the night before the interview, you’re not going to feel or look your best. Give yourself every advantage and go to bed early for a good night’s sleep.

Leave the House Early
The last thing you need during a job interview is additional stress caused by being late. Being late for an interview is a killer – as in killing any hope you ever had of getting the job. If you leave in plenty of time, you can take into account things like a traffic jam or a flat tire. Get to the interview site with plenty of time to spare. If there’s enough time, find a coffee shop and relax a bit before heading off for your interview. Relax, it’s under control.

Act Professionally
Arrive at the interview site five minutes before the scheduled interview. Be a bit early but not too early. Be sure to bring copies of your resume in case more are needed. Bring your own pen and paper. Use them to take notes and fill out the application. If you’re asking the interviewer for a pen, you don’t come off as super-prepared.

Know When to Leave
After the interview, know when to get off stage. If the interviewer is giving you signs (looking at her watch, yawning loudly, etc.) you’ve over-stayed your welcome. Time to hit the bricks. No one likes job interviews, but given that most of us will have six or seven jobs in our professional careers, interviews are simply an aspect of contemporary work life.

Just remember to prepare and practice. You’ll build confidence by being ready for the off-the-wall question or the tour of the facilities. You can’t control a job interview, but you can prepare for one. Do it and walk in with your head held high. You’re ready.

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