1. Understand the Stages of an Interview
Your interview is a time to sell the employer on your skill sets. It’s important to understand though that each interview has a special dialog. The employer or HR rep thanks you for coming in and then tells you about the role. They may then ask a little about you and why you feel like you’re the ideal fit for the position. If they are interested, they might discuss having you come for a second interview or staying to meet with a potential manager. They may also leave the interview open-ended if they’re still interviewing other candidates.
2. Avoid Run-On Sentences in Interviews
During an interview, the HR rep or potential employer is reciting a script. They might talk for 5-10 minutes describing the role, the history of the firm, and why the position is available. That doesn’t mean that you should now take a long time with your answers. Avoid run-on sentences. Highlight your experience and explain what you have to offer. Ask about what a typical day would be like. Listen as the person responds and say something like, “Oh that’s great. I love staying busy. At my last firm, I often volunteered.” Keep it short and highlight your experience.
3. Always Stay Positive and Professional in Interviews
During the interview, your potential employer or HR rep will ask a few questions. They may ask what you liked about your last job. They may also ask you to tell them about a time you faced a big challenge at work or what you didn’t like about your old job. Always answer in a positive light and never say anything bad or negative about your current or former employer. Keep your answers brief and remember to highlight your experience and why you’re the right candidate for the position that they have available.
4. Highlight What You Have to Offer
Potential employers typically will ask the same questions and you should practice your answers ahead of time. They might ask, “Why are you the right candidate for this role?” Don’t say “I’ve always wanted to work here,” which is too generic. You want to highlight your skill sets. “Well Bob, I’ve been in management for 12 years. I’m a team player and at my last firm I closed 7 big accounts with a tight deadline. I also spearheaded the new paperless system my former employer currently uses.” Show them why they should hire you.
5. Don’t Be Too Candid or Friendly in Interview Discussions
Because interviews have scripts that HR reps use, if you’re not careful, you might reveal too much. Never say things like, “It’s taking me forever to find a job,” “I can never find good daycare,” or “I hated my last company.” The HR rep or potential employer can sometimes come across as super friendly to get you to open up but that doesn’t mean you should start talking too much. Keep your answers brief and your responses polite and focused on the role. You’re there for the job so be sure that you make a good impression.
6. Things to Never Ask or Say in Interviews
With some positions you apply for, you have to pay attention to sensitive points that the employer might frown upon. For example, if you’re interviewing at a company that’s big on green initiatives, don’t mention your gas-guzzling SUV. You also don’t want to start talking about politics or asking personal questions about family or if someone is dating. Keep the conversation professional and about the position. Remember, it’s a script that you should follow so keep it professional. Highlight your accomplishments so the employer knows you’re right for the role they have available.
7. Always Be Alert During Interviews – You’re Being Monitored
It happens sometimes. You call the person you’re interviewing with by another name. Just apologize and be professional. You may also find that your smartphone rings or vibrates accidentally in an interview. Apologize and turn it off. Never take calls or check messages in an interview. If you need to check messages, do it in the bathroom stall for privacy or go outside. Never make calls in reception or the bathroom as people walking by might hear you and likely know you’re interviewing. Someone passing through reception might be your future manager.