It goes without saying that earning an in person interview is a crucial step in the job search process. Properly preparing for this all important meeting should be a high priority when the time comes. The following guidelines will help you hone your in person interview skills:
- Research the job and company. Hiring managers expect you to have done your homework. The company’s official website, social media, the internet and local business publications are great places to learn details about ownership, annual sales revenue, principal lines of business, and the nature and scope of local operations.
- Look your best. Even if the company has a business casual dress code or environment, dress professionally for the first interview, unless you are specifically told to come dressed in business casual attire. Polish your shoes, wear tailored and pressed clothing that is conservative yet current, and moderate your use of cosmetics, fragrance and jewelry. Blue or black two piece suits are the safest bets. Bright and multi-colored clothing may tend to detract from the substance of your interview.
- Plan to arrive 15 minutes early. You are probably travelling to a new location, so be sure to anticipate traffic bottlenecks, parking issues and the need to get through building security. If you aren’t sure of the location, scope it out in advance so you don’t have to endure the stress of getting lost or rushing on interview day.
- Know the essentials. These include the exact time and place of the meeting, the full names and titles of interviewers and the correct pronunciation of names.
- Review your own resume. You can expect several specific questions about what you’ve done in each position. Bring copies of your resume, a list of business references and be sure the resume you present on interview day is the same version you presented for the initial selection. Visit our page on resume guidelines to make sure yours is up to par.
- Focus on good verbal and non-verbal communication. Greet the interviewer with confidence and a firm handshake. Throughout the interview, use attentive posture, maintain eye contact, wear an engaging smile and keep the conversation flowing.
- Prepare questions in advance. Be ready to ask appropriate questions when given the opportunity. Inquire about what it will take to add value and be successful in the role you for which you are interviewing. Don’t ask about benefits or time off – those topics are best addressed the end of the interview process.
- Stay calm. Even for the most seasoned, interviewing can be stressful. If possible, try to give yourself time to relax before you go for your interview. Try not to schedule your interview right after or in the middle of an already over-booked day. Arriving already stressed will not afford you the chance to decompress before presenting yourself for consideration.
- Say “thank you.” Follow up your interview with a short, well written thank you note that demonstrates your interest and your professionalism. Proper spelling and grammar are a must, and, keep in mind that hand written notes are not outdated – just be sure your writing is legible and professional.