Preparing for and performing well in a job interview commonly make the difference between landing the job you want and returning to the search process. Getting familiar with what employers expect and what they want in an employee is the first step in interview preparation. Presenting a confident and accomplished message in the interview is the next.
Get to know the company and job. Hiring managers or interview committees commonly spend several hours preparing interview questions. They do this so they can accurately assess what they want in an employee. When you read through a job description, you can see the qualities and skills desired. In preparing for the interview, emphasize your specific skills that match. Rehearse your interview with a friend and focus on answers that address what the interviewer is evaluating.
Make a good first impression. What you do during the first few moments in an interview can catapult you or eliminate your chances. A weak or unprofessional handshake, poor dress, lack of eye contact or poor body language can all negatively influence a manager's perception. If you show up dressed professionally, friendly and confident, with a firm professional handshake and enthusiastic demeanor, your first impression can cause the hiring manager to view you through rose-colored glasses throughout the interview.
Project a positive attitude and competence. Essentially, hiring managers have two basic concerns: Can you do the job, and would they want to work with you? They use your approach and accuracy in responding to interview questions to assess these factors. A friendly, positive and relaxed demeanor and an emphasis on building rapport can help you win over the hiring manager on a personal level. Researched, practiced, concise and on-target answers to the questions help show your competency. Demonstrate your competence with specific accomplishments. Many interviewers use criteria that specifically focus on proven abilities or accomplishments, as opposed simply to experience.
Finish strong. Just as you start with a positive impression, you want to close with a lasting impact. Often, interviewers listen to candidates with similar backgrounds and qualifications. You want your final moments to resonate and help you stand out. Along with a generally positive attitude and friendly connection, asking targeted questions that show your excitement and familiarity with the job helps.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.