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How to Interview with a Prospective Employer

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When meeting a prospective employer, the impression you make depends on your preparation, your people and communication skills, and your ability to convey a sincere interest in the job and the company. Before walking into the interview, determine how you can frame your skills and knowledge to persuade the employer that you’re an ideal match for the position.

Do Your Homework

Before the interview, research both the company and your potential boss. Browse the company’s website, read relevant news articles, and look up information online about the company and your interviewer. Talk to people with firsthand knowledge of the organization. Learn as much as you can about the company’s culture and mission. Glean insight into your potential employer’s personality. Use this information to establish rapport with your prospective boss and demonstrate how you’re a good match for the company’s values.

Portray Self-Confidence

Many employers look for candidates who are decisive and self-assured. In addition, people respond to confidence. If you send the message that you’re a competent, skilled professional, you'll likely be taken more seriously. Stand up straight, make ample eye contact, shake hands firmly and smile. Try not to fidget during the interview. If you become nervous, take a few deep breaths and relax. When delivering your answers, reply confidently. Be careful not to fall into the nervous habit of saying “um” or clearing your throat.

Ask Questions

Most employers expect you to have a few questions about the company or the job position. Your interviewer will usually hand the meeting over to you at the end. When you ask questions, it shows that you are prepared and interested in the position. Ask for specific details about what the job entails, who you’ll work most closely with, and what role your position plays in the long term growth and success of the company. Inquire about the qualities and skills your future boss thinks are crucial to fulfilling the job duties.

Follow Up

To leave a positive impression, send a short thank-you note within 24 hours of your interview. For a personal touch, send a handwritten note. Email is acceptable at many organizations as well, especially at companies that are casual or have a focus on technology. Thank the potential employer for meeting with you. Mention that you enjoyed talking and learning more about the company. You may even ask how he or she foresees your future at the organization. Reiterate one or two details from your conversation. For example, thank your interviewer for his or her insight into how to fit in with the rest of the team.