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If you’re about to hit the job market, do everything you can to make a positive impact during the interview. As the interviewee, it’s up to you to do your homework about the position so that you’re ready for tough questions. The ideal interviewee is poised, confident and eager to become a part of the team. Dazzle the interviewer by demonstrating who you are as a dynamic difference-maker.
Be Prepared for the Interview
Interview preparation is the first step in becoming the ideal interviewee. Begin by learning as much as you can about the job duties and the company. Develop a list of questions that the interviewer may ask you, and then reflect upon the answers that you’ll provide. Practice interviewing with a friend, so you’re confident and ready for anything. Here are a few common questions that you may want to consider:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in this job?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your growth areas?
- How do you handle conflict?
- Provide an example of an obstacle that you’ve encountered and how you handled it.
- Why do you feel this company would be a good fit for you?
- How will you make a difference?
- Describe the ideal work environment.
- What do you do if you disagree with a decision made by your boss?
- How do you handle a stressful situation?
Dress for Success
An interviewer will develop a first impression based upon you by how you look. It’s important to dress for success. Before the interview, learn as much as you can about the culture of the company. If it’s a casual vibe, don’t wear a suit. If you’re unsure, dress professionally to demonstrate your sincere interest in the job.
Show Great Enthusiasm
An eager interviewee is sought after by hiring officials. Even if you’re nervous, it’s important to show your sincere interest in the job. An ideal interviewee is cool under pressure and knows how to convey positive energy that will impress a future boss. Turn interview jitters into energy that will catapult your interview into an engaging dialogue.
Think About Your Non-Verbal Behavior
It’s easy to lose track of your non-verbal behavior when you’re nervous. Lean forward to show your interest and avoid fidgeting. If possible, consider watching yourself on video in a mock interview to learn more about your unconscious non-verbal expressions.
Use the STAR Method
An ideal interviewee knows how to turn a negative into a positive. If you’re asked about a past mistake or failure, try using the STAR method to answer the question.
- Situation: Specifically describe the situation that illustrates the example.
- Task: Discuss your part in the task.
- Actions: Touch upon your actions.
- Results: Provide a positive outcome by talking about how you resolved the problem.
Ask Meaningful Questions
An interview is a two-way street. Interview preparation includes writing questions that will help you learn more about the job and the company. A hiring official will gain insight into your knowledge of the organization and what makes you special from listening to the introspective questions you pose.
Consider What NOT to Do
In addition to knowing what you should do, it’s equally important to know what you shouldn’t do in an interview. Here are a few important tips:
- Don’t appear desperate.
- Don’t be late.
- Don’t wear too much perfume or cologne.
- Don’t forget to check your nose, teeth and zipper before the interview.
- Don’t tell negative stories about past work experiences.
- Don’t ask about the salary at the interview.
Write a Thank You Letter
Once the interview is over, be sure to follow up with a note of thanks. Write about something specific that you learned from the conversation and reiterate your interest in the job.
Dr. Kelly Meier has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and has 30+ years of experience in higher education. She is the author and co-author of 15 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education with Kinect Education Group. She is the co-owner of a small business and a regular contributor for The Equity Network. She has numerous publications published by Talico, Inc., DynaTEAM Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.
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