1. Research the industry and company.
An interviewer may ask how you perceive his company’s position in its industry, who the firm’s competitors are, what its competitive advantages are, and how it should best go forward. For this reason, avoid trying to thoroughly research a dozen different industries. Focus your job search on just a few industries instead.
Prepare smart questions
Interviews are a two-way street. Employers expect you to ask questions: they want to know that you’re thinking seriously about what it would be like to work there. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking your interviewers:
- “Can you explain some of the day-to-day responsibilities for this job?”
- “How would you describe the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?”
- “If I were in this position, how would my performance be measured? How often?”
- “What departments does this team work with regularly? How do these departments typically collaborate? What does that process look like?”
- “What are the challenges you’re currently facing in your role?”
Think about first impressions
Don’t forget the little things. Shine your shoes, make sure your nails are clean and tidy, and check your clothes for holes, stains, pet hair and loose threads. Brush your teeth and use floss.
Plan your schedule so that you can arrive 10–15 minutes early. Map out your route to the interview location so you can be sure to arrive on time. Consider doing a trial run. If you’re taking public transportation, identify a backup plan if there are delays or closures. Pro-tip: When you arrive early, use the extra minutes to observe the workplace dynamics
Remember good manners and body language
Non-verbal communication can be just as important as anything you say in the interview.Use confident, accessible body language. Smile frequently. Make eye contact when you’re speaking. Sit or stand tall with your shoulders back. Before the interview, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This will help you manage any feelings of anxiety and will encourage greater self-confidence.
Treat every single person within the organisation you encounter with respect.
Nail the handshake. During a job interview, the hiring manager (or person in seniority) should extend their hand first to initiate the handshake. Stand, look the person in the eye and smile. A good handshake should be firm but not crush the other person’s fingers.
Send personalised thank you notes to each interviewer. You may want to ask for the business card of each person you speak with during the interview process so that you can follow up individually with a separate thank you email—if they don’t have a business card, you could ask for their email address and make a note of it. If you interviewed in the morning, send your follow-up emails the same day. If you are interviewed in the afternoon, the next morning is fine. Make certain that each email is distinct from the others, using the notes you took during the conversations.