Job hunting can be an anxiety riddled and daunting task that nearly everyone has to experience. If you’re a recent college graduate, it can seem like everywhere you look requires way more experience than an ‘entry level’ job should need. Don’t lose faith! Even if the job requires a year or more experience that you don’t have yet, you can and should still apply. You can prove why you’ll be a valuable asset to the company through your cover letter, resume and interview.
If you’ve made it to the interview stage – congratulations – here are some interview tips to help you seal the deal and get offered the position you want.
Before The Interview
Hopefully you researched the company before applying for a position, but it’s not a bad idea to refamiliarize yourself with what the company does, what they stand for and what they believe in before you meet with the interviewer. This is a good time to re-read the job description so it’ll be fresh in your mind.
Practice common interview questions with a friend or family member. You’ll want your answers to seem well thought out and put together but not rehearsed or robotic.
Be prepared to ask the interviewer questions when they ask if you have any. If you don’t have any questions for them, they might think you’re not serious about the position. Here are some examples:
- What does a typical day look like in this position?
- What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this position?
- What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
- Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
- What’s your favorite part about working here?
- What’s the company and team culture like?
- Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
Be prepared to discuss salary expectations. You should research the compensation range for your job position on a website like Indeed Salaries.
Plan out what you’re going to wear the night before the interview. Dress appropriately for the position you’re applying for.
Bring your resume, cover letter and reference list to the interview in a plain binder or folder. The interviewer should already have these materials but in case they don’t, you’ll appear very prepared and serious about the job.
Arrive 10-15 minutes early. While you wait for your interviewer, take some time to observe the workplace dynamics.
Be respectful to everyone you encounter regardless of their position. The hiring manager or interviewer might ask for their feedback about your interactions.
During The Interview
When the interviewer extends their hand to shake yours, make sure your handshake is firm (but don’t crush their fingers!).
Make a mental note to yourself to remember the interviewer’s name so you can thank them personally after the interview!
Make a great first impression by smiling, maintaining eye contact, and displaying confident body language. Sit up straight during the interview and appear engaged and positive throughout.
Respond truthfully to the questions you’re asked and try to tie your answers back into your skill set or highlight your accomplishments that are relevant.
Keep answers short and focused. Try not to ramble.
Don’t speak negatively about previous employers or jobs. This negativity will reflect more on you than on them.
Ask the interviewer what the next steps are and when you can expect to hear back.
After The Interview
Send a personalized thank you email or card to the interviewer. A card will be more memorable, but an email works too.
If the company will be calling you back with an offer, make sure you have an updated and professional voicemail message in case you miss the call. Check voicemails frequently when waiting to hear back about job opportunities. Waiting too long to respond to a voicemail can diminish your chances of securing the position and they might change their mind.
Some companies will email if they won’t be moving forward with you as a candidate. Respond politely to the rejection email since you might want to reapply in the future. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t offered a position at each place you interview. Sometimes it can take time to find a job out of college.
You don’t need to immediately accept a job offer over the phone. You can let the company know that you’re waiting to hear back from other companies and you’d like a few days to make a decision.
Best of luck!