Interviews are always the scariest part of any job-seeking experience and can obviously be the difference between a paycheck and the unemployment line. With more and more interviews being conducted by phone or Skype, this process can be even more daunting. However, with a little preparation and the right mix of character you can turn these difficult situations into positive outcomes. Below are a few tips to help you interview effectively.
1. Prepare appropriately
Do your homework before the interview. This will not only help you be more prepared to answer questions about the company, but will also give you confidence from the moment the interview begins. Here are a few things you should get down before you walk in:
- The job description for the job you are applying for – the requirements, expectations, title, etc.
- General background information on the company
- Who you are interviewing with – What title is he or she? What is their background? If this is not readily available, try LinkedIn. Most employers are now using this social network, so doing this research should be simple.
- 4-7 Key questions you want to ask the interviewer based on your research. Don’t ever go to an interview without questions.
2. Practice your “elevator pitch”
A successful elevator pitch should be a part of every person’s toolkit. If you’re not familiar with the expression, an elevator pitch is basically a very short introduction about yourself that presents who you are, what you do, and why you are there/what you want.
In an interview setting it is not uncommon for the interviewer to simply ask you the awkward question – “tell me about yourself,” or something similar. These types of questions are generally assessing two qualities about you – how interesting you are and how confident you are at answering awkward questions. A prepared and natural-sounding elevator pitch will come off far better than the other unprepared candidate who will reply with something along the lines of “uh… what would you like to know? um….”
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