While the debate is still going on as to whether or not you need a cover letter, and the switch to electronic resumes is pretty much a done deal, there's one aspect of the job search process that remains pretty much unchanged—you're going to have to interview. It's pretty much a given. Your prospective employer needs to see you in person to make sure you are sane, ready, willing, and able to take on all the tasks required by the open position.
It's hard not knowing what to expect. Will your interviewer be chill and jokey? Stern and formal? Will you hit it off and not be able to stop talking, or will there be awkward silences where you don't know what to say?
Here, we've compiled our best advice about the interview process, so you know what to expect every step of the way.
First, Do Your Homework
It should go without saying (but we'll say it anyway, again and again)—you must research the company before your interview. Know the basics: company size, various locations, its main products or services—basically, if it can be found online, you should know it already before you walk in the doors. Your next bit of pre-interview prep should be to come up with a list of questions you'll ask your interviewer about the company and position. There's almost 100% chance he or she will end the interview with, "Any questions?" You better be prepared with some, or it will look like you don't care. Here are some tips to get you started.
Prepare for Specific Question Types
Of course you don't know for certain what questions your interviewer has prepared, we have been though and combed through thousands of interviews. We're familiar with the questions that come up again and again, and have insight into what hiring managers want to hear.
First, the specifics. There's no excuse for being unprepared when, let's face it, hiring mangers can be pretty unoriginal. There's a good chance one of the following questions will come up, so why not prep beforehand exactly what you want to say?
Next, common interview question categories. Salary, behavioral, and situational interview questions also follow typical patterns. Check out the following to familiarize yourself with exactly what these questions entail and what interviewers want to hear.
What You Do Matters As Much As What You Say
So your questions are in hand, you know about the company, and you're ready for the big day. But even if you have the most brilliant answers to all the questions lobbed your way, if you look like a mess and don't master the art of professional body language, you won't come across and qualified as you could. Check out the following advice about how to match your physical self with the smarts and ability you possess.
Know the Bad So You Can Avoid It!
You can study and study about what the best things are to say, but it also helps to know the worst, so you can avoid them. Maybe you don't know what is and is not appropriate interview-speak. Maybe you're used to an informal work environment and think that carries over to other workplaces. Maybe you've only seen interviews in movies and want to emulate some questionable habits. Before you do that, read the following so you don't do or say something you regret.
Your Guide to Unorthodox Interviews
It's hard enough prepping for a one-on-one situation—what if you're facing a group of interviewers, or being questioned at the same time as a bunch of other people vying for the job? What if you're applying for out-of-state or out-of country gigs and Skype or the phone are your only options?
Know When You Don't Have to Answer
Sure you want to aim to please during the interview—you'll say what it takes to get the job, right? Not necessarily. There are some red flags you should be aware of before you start your interview; some are even illegal. No matter how badly you want your interviewee to like you, or how much you want the job, be on the lookout for illegal or unethical questions, and know what to say if they do come up.
After Your Interview
So, you did it. You researched, knew exactly what to say, had a polished outfit, elegant body language, and smart questions to ask. What's next? Maybe they'll call the next day with an proposal for a second interview—whoo hoo! Maybe you'll hear... nothing. Who knew silence could be so deafening? Or maybe you'll get a polite but firm "no," which, after all that work, is a colossal bummer. Read on for tips on what to do in these situations.
Interviewing is a game. And once you know how to play it, it almost can become second nature. Know the tricks of the trade, work hard, and go into every interview with passion and grit. We promise, you're sure to find success soon!
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