How to Interview for a Job
So you’ve done your due diligence and thoroughly prepared for your upcoming job interview. You’ve picked out a proper outfit, looked at the questions you’re likely to be asked, and researched the company and the keywords so you can figure out how you’ll answer those questions. Now comes the matter of the interview itself. We have some tips for those who want to know how to have a good interview.
Make a Good First Impression
You likely know the expression that you only have one chance to make a good first impression, and when you’re trying to convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the job you don’t want to handicap yourself by making a bad one. Even if you nail the rest of the interview, if it started on the wrong foot your chances of being hired will suffer significantly.
First, your appearance will go a long way to making a good first impression. This means keeping your outfit clean and crisp, so make sure you don’t spill anything on it or get it wrinkled. Second, when you’re approached by the hiring manager to start the interview, put on a friendly and sincere smile. While you’re shaking their hands with a winning smile, maintain firm eye contact with them to convey your poise and confidence.
When you’re greeting them, address them by their name and thank them – sincerely and kindly – for the opportunity they’re giving you with the interview. Lastly, don’t just show interest in everything they have to say, be interested in everything they have to say. You want the job, you want to work for the company, and the hiring manager is the representative that matters most when it comes to getting what you want – everything they say should therefore be of the utmost interest to you.
How to Answer Job Interview Questions
Now that you’ve made a good first impression, you’re sitting down across a table from the hiring manager and they’re starting to ask their questions. Since you’ve prepared for this already you’re firing off answers with confidence, but then they throw a trick question at you that’s designed to trip you up and see how you respond. There are a few ways to respond to questions like that, but what we advise is that you give an honest answer that shows you practice what you preach.
If you want to get an idea on what type of answer to give, do a search for difficult interview questions and good answers to them. Do not, however, just memorize the answer or fill in the blanks with your name and experience. Use the examples to give you an idea of what tone to use and the way to approach your answer with both honesty and confidence. Practice a few different answers you might give, and then look carefully at what your statements might imply that you don’t want them to.
As an example, when a hiring manager asks you what misconceptions your co-workers had about you, saying “they thought I was a workaholic and didn’t have a life outside of work” might actually tell them that you don’t work as hard as you seem to. Try to avoid answers like that, which only sound defensive or like you’re avoiding the question.
Questions To Ask in a Job Interview
After the hiring manager is done asking their questions, they’re likely to allow you the chance to ask a few questions of them in return. The questions you ask can tell them as much, if not more, about you than your answers to theirs. Here are tips we give to our clients:
First of all, be sure that you do ask questions. It shows that you’ve put a lot of thought into the job and their company, and that you have genuine interest in them. However, there are certain questions to avoid:
- How much does the job pay?
- What benefits will I get?
- How much vacation time will I have?
All these questions convey to the hiring manager is that you only care about money, not the job or their company. Instead, you should ask more functional questions. This is why we advise that you ask open-ended questions that are designed to find out more about the job and the company:
- The current hierarchy/structure of the company
- Annual profits or number of employees
- Plans for expansion or new projects
These inquiries will help set up your follow up. If you asked about their plans for expansion, ask them how you would fit in with those plans; or if you asked about the structure of the company or its history, ask if there are others that share a similar position and where you would be in their hierarchy. Not only will these open-ended questions impress the hiring manager with your interest and willingness to know about your role and responsibilities, but they will also help you figure out if you even want the job in the first place.
Thank You Letter After Job Interview
Finally, after it’s over and done with you should follow up with your interviewer. We advise that you write a thank you note to the hiring manager for granting you the interview. However, there’s a certain way to go about writing and sending them.
First, if you’re going to send a thank you note make sure you do so almost immediately after the interview is over. If the interview was in the morning you should be sending it later that same day. If it was later in the day, send it so they have it in their hand or inbox the next morning.
Second, make sure that it reaffirms your interest in the position and the company and inquires about the next step in the hiring process. However, the note should be very short and concise, so while it’s called a “thank you note”, all it should really contain is a short paragraph that says, in essence: “Thank you for the interview, I’m still interested in the job. What’s next?”. Obviously it should be a bit more elaborate than that and have some personalization to the details.
Third, when it comes to the note itself you don’t have to hand-write it. It might be more personal, but unless you have very neat handwriting we suggest you type it up instead.
Lastly, make sure you proofread it! It might be a short and quick note, but you don’t want to ruin the good it can do by misspelling a few words or messing up the punctuation.
By this point, you probably saw a few general bits of advice come up pretty often, and they bear repeating. No matter what you say or do, you should be trying to convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job. To do this, you need to establish that you are confident, sincere, and interested in the job and the company.
Brian Stewart is a graduate of George Brown College and the University of Toronto, and is a Career Content Writer at ResumeTarget.com. They are the only resume writing company that offers a professionally written resume, coupled with the guidance of recruiters, to guarantee that your resume will get results.