Oh, the dreaded job hunt. We’ve all been there. You put a lot of effort into revising your resume, and spend hours applying for jobs. You update your email address that you got when you were 14 from HorseLoverGirl08@aol.com to something more mature with your actual first and last name. You wait weeks for a response, when suddenly, the phone rings! It is an employer who would like to schedule you for an interview. You’ve been waiting for this day, and it is important that you are prepared.
Prior to the interview
When scheduling a time for an interview, be flexible. This is a good opportunity that you don’t want to miss. It is easier for you to rearrange your schedule than it is for the employer to rearrange theirs. The employer may give you specific instructions prior to the interview and it is important that you do all that is asked. It is always a good idea to bring a folder with multiple copies of your resume and references with you. Do some research on the company before the interview as well. Most companies will include their history, mission, and core values on their website. If you go to the interview with this knowledge it will give you an edge over the competition by showing the employer that you are genuinely interested. You will more than likely be asked if you have any questions, so be prepared with 2-3 position/company related questions.
During the interview
The way you present yourself on the day of the interview can make or break you. Unless you are told otherwise, always dress professionally and wear clothes that are clean and ironed. Arriving early is essential to making a good first impression. You should have a prior knowledge of the location and a general idea of what the traffic is like so that you can plan accordingly and arrive 15-20 minutes early. You’ll most likely be nervous, and that’s ok! Even if you’re nervous, be aware of your body language. When you meet your interviewer, greet them with a smile and a firm handshake. Appear as relaxed and confident as possible without coming across as arrogant. As they go through the questions, be honest with your answers and make good eye contact. Resist the urge to check your watch or your phone, which should be on silent and out of sight. Before you leave the interview, thank the interviewer for their time.
After the interview
Following the interview, it’s not a bad idea to send the interviewer an email that evening letting them know that you are grateful for the opportunity, and that you enjoyed meeting with them. All communication with a potential employer should be professional and void of spelling or grammar mistakes. Give the employer a week and a half before you follow up with them. If you can’t reach the employer and you haven’t heard back from the, they may not feel that you would be a good fit for that position. Don’t be discouraged if this is the situation. You have other opportunities waiting for you! Regardless of how your interview turns out, the more you interview, the better you will get.