It’s 10 p.m. and the email still hasn’t arrived. Or were they supposed to give you a call? You can’t remember because you have been so anxious about being offered that job interview.

You can’t wait any longer.
Waiting for interview

The email appears in your inbox that you just refreshed 20 times in the last ten seconds. “We are impressed by your background and are excited to invite you to interview to learn more about you.” 

Congrats! The interview is yours and you are one step closer to your goal. While the thought of the interview may make you nervous, there are five steps you can follow to confidently ace your interview.

  1. RESEARCH the following key areas before your interview:
    • Yourself: What are your goals, strengths, weaknesses, values, experience?
    • The organization: Know about the vision, culture, services/products, structure, etc.
    • The individuals who will be interviewing you: What’s their background and interests?
    • The role of the position: What are the responsibilities and expectations?
    • Current and future industry environment and trends: Do you understand the context of the organization’s work?
    • Question(s) you will ask the interviewer during the closing section: Should be genuine and complex enough that the answer is not obvious or on the website.
  2. SELECT professional attire. While it may be acceptable to dress business casual, the following recommendations are for business professional attire.
    • Women: Two-piece suit. If wearing a skirt, thighs should be covered when seated. Closed toe shoes. Jewelry should be appropriate.
    • Men: Two-piece suit. Long-sleeve shirt (white or blue are solid colors). Conservative tie without graphics. Black or cordovan dress shoes.

     

  3. PRACTICE your interview question responses. Practice may not always make perfect, but it sure helps answer questions more clearly, succinctly, and convincingly.
    • It’s not good enough to just think of responses in your head. Say them out loud by yourself or with a friend or family member. There are free resources online that offer sample questions for different types of interviews. Google them!
    • Many of the interview questions are behavior-based, on the premise that past behavior and performance can predict future actions. While new research raises questions about the validity of this theory, these questions are still popular in the interview room. The STAR approach can help you answer questions that sound like this: “Tell us about a time you overcame a struggle?” or “Describe a time when you demonstrated leadership?”
  4.  

    Situation: Describe the context of the situation
    Task: Describe the task and your role
    Action: Describe the actions you took
    Results: Describe the outcomes of your actions

     

  5. DELIVER with confidence. Interview time has arrived. You are prepared so now it’s all about execution.
    • Arrive about 15 minutes early to the interview. If finding the location may be complicated, find the location a day or more before interview. The more mental capacity you use for logistics the day of the interview, the less you can relax and focus on delivering a poised and authentic interview.
    • There’s no way you will have practiced every single question you will receive, but content from a different question may help you construct a response for a new question. Besides, your strong research will guide your responses.
    • Provide a firm handshake. Maintain strong eye contact and appropriate posture. Gesture above the table. Watch volume and pace of voice.
  6.  

  7. FOLLOW-UP with a thank you to your interviewers within 48 hours after the interview. Hand-written notes are more powerful than emailed ones.
    • Express your interest, again, and briefly recap why you are qualified and are a good fit.
    • Highlight a personalized touch from your time with them.

For more information that will help you on your job hunt, check out our other blogs!

Job Hunt Series: Resume and Cover Letter

Job Hunt Series: Networking? What is that?