Not sure what to do on an interview? Don’t sweat it! With these professional insights you’ll gain the confidence you need and learn the proper etiquette to help you seal the deal.
Before the interview:
Have additional information on hand—don’t just rely on your résumé to sell yourself. Think of yourself as a salesperson—and the product is you. It’s best to have a list of important points about yourself prepared ahead of time that you want to communicate. Most interviewers will ask if you have any additional information you’d like to share. Take a moment to review your mental checklist and make any points that were missed.
THOROUGHLY RESEARCH THE COMPANY.
Know its products, top executives, growth pattern, recent financial performance, and its strengths and weaknesses.
Before you get to the interview, know what the employer is looking for. While you need to be yourself, you must also present yourself as that employer’s ideal candidate by showing how your skills match up with their needs. Clearly communicate your ideas, listen, and generate enthusiasm, that’s what gets you the job.
DRESS THE PART.
In the engineering and advanced manufacturing industry, conservative, professional attire is appropriate.
During the interview:
MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION.
Be punctual—not too early (15 minutes is too early), and definitely don’t be late. Be self-confident, use a firm handshake, and be friendly, but not bubbly.
OFFER INTELLIGENT, CONCISE ANSWERS.
Prepare yourself by thinking through these most commonly asked questions:
- Why are you interested in us?
- What are your long and short-term career goals?
- Why should I hire you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your biggest accomplishments?
- How do you see yourself fitting into this company?
- What does success mean to you?
Be sure to listen closely to the questions being asked. Nothing turns off an interviewer more than when you provide an answer that doesn’t fit the question. Remember—interviewers are assessing your listening and communication skills, as much as they are listening to the specific answers.
ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COMPANY.
Your interest in the company and position shows you’re taking this opportunity seriously. Here are some things you may want to know:
- What opportunities are there for advancement?
- How would you describe a typical day?
- What skills and qualities are the most important to succeed in this job?
- How would I be supervised?
DON’T SAY TOO MUCH.
Many interviewers appear very friendly and easy-going. Don’t let that trick you into rambling, giving more information than asked for, or revealing too much about your personal life. Stick to answering the questions at hand. Avoid any discussions regarding “charged” topics like politics or religion.
Emphasize your strengths and achievements, using specific examples from previous jobs, volunteer work, and classroom experiences whenever you can. Don’t forget to maintain good eye contact. Success is in your attitude!
TALKING ABOUT SALARY AND BENEFITS.
While the employer will usually bring up this topic, don’t press for details during your first interview. Talk about opportunity, not security. Now is not the time to ask about vacation time, sick leave, or other benefits. But if the employer brings up salary, you should be prepared. Know your worth! Asking for too much or too little may cost you the job offer.
CLOSING THE INTERVIEW.
The interviewer will close the interview when he/she has enough information about you. Don’t attempt to extend it, unless one of your important qualifications has not been discussed. Then ask to make one more point, but make it brief.
THANK THE INTERVIEWER BEFORE YOU LEAVE.
After the interview:
FOLLOW-UP IS IMPORTANT.
Send a note thanking the interviewer for his/her time and expressing your interest in the job. In your letter, be sure to point out that opportunity—not security—is important to you. Also summarize key points of the interview and add further information to help “prove” your case.