So your resume did its job and now you have an interview with a prospective employer. You are one step closer to landing a job, but preparing for an interview takes a lot of time and effort. Everything from the outfit you wear to the time you arrive will leave an impression on your potential employer. Be sure it is the impression you want to give. The skill of interviewing requires practice, so if this is your first one, be sure to take notes on these five essential ways to prepare for your big interview.
Doing a little browse through the company's website isn't quite enough. You want more than a basic understanding of the company, their mission, how their past year has been and why they’re hiring for this particular position. You should be able to ask your interviewer well-informed questions about how the business is run and how you will fit into the picture. Having a thorough understanding of the complete job description and tasks required is vital as well. This will allow you to speak directly to how your skills can address the company's needs and where your past experiences overlap with future duties.
Interviewers love the open-ended “tell me about yourself” question – and they want to hear your story! This will often be the first question you’re asked. Prepare a few sentences that sum up who you are, and that sound genuine and thoughtful at the same time. Be sure to include your name, current (or most recent) position and employer, a few major accomplishments to highlight, and one or two unique traits about yourself that make you stand out from other applicants.
Take a hard look at your skill set. In order to find out what your strengths are, look back at some of your most prominent accomplishments in the past couple years and try to uncover what skills you had to employ to reach your goal. Just running through potential interview questions isn't enough. You really need to understand your personal motivators and weaknesses in order to ace the interview.
Lincoln Tech offers a unique chance to practice mock interviews with the career services center. This will help you articulate your answers with the rare opportunity to get honest feedback on what you excelled at and where you could improve before you have the real interview. By having someone else interview you, you have the added bonus of not knowing what the questions will be - just like in the real interview. This style of preparation will allow you to understand how you will perform under pressure or when you get thrown a curve ball question you hadn't prepared for.
Pro athletes do it before a big game, so why shouldn't you? Walk through the ideal scenario in your mind. See yourself acing all of the questions, giving solid examples of your practical experience and getting along with your potential employer. Envision yourself shaking his or her hand on the way out as you are offered the role right then and there. Psychological and career experts agree it’s important to focus on the positive before your big interview.
Once you reach the interview, take a deep breath and be yourself. One of the most important qualities to bring with you to your interview is self-confidence. Sit up straight, look your interviewer in the eye and tell yourself "you got this," because if you don't believe you are the right person for the job, how are you supposed to convince your future employer you are? And always remember to follow up. Send your interviewer a written note thanking him or her for the time spent with you. Good manners are never lost when it comes to a successful interview.
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