Job hunting can be one of the most exciting and exasperating experiences for job seekers new and seasoned. After weeks of scrolling the job boards, you finally get that call inviting you in for an interview and now your anxiety has kicked in as your prepare. In my professional career, I’ve sat on both sides of the table as an interviewee and interviewer. Here are a few tips that will get you the job offer you’ve been waiting for.
Before the Interview
Research- This should be a no-brainer. Google is free so please conduct research on the company you’re interviewing with before you step foot into the interview. I promise, there will be a question asking you what you already know about the company. Spend a few days before your interview reviewing the company website, social media platforms and current news articles. If you know who you’ll be interviewing with, take some time to research their background as well. This is your opportunity to show that you are serious about working for the organization and that you’re a strong candidate.
Print out your resume- This is a small step that helps you look prepared. Most likely your interviewer will have copies of your resume, but bringing extra copies will never hurt.
Organize your portfolio- Depending on your field, you may have a physical or digital portfolio that you’ve developed over your career to showcase your work. For creative industries such as design and marketing, this is extremely important. When organizing your portfolio, be sure to include work that best fits the position your are interviewing for. For example, if you are interviewing for a Social Media Coordinator position, your portfolio should include any social media campaigns that you’ve worked on including pages that you’ve managed, analytics for paid campaigns, tools that you used to schedule and monitor, etc. Your portfolio should be used as a talking point during your interview to highlight what value you’ll bring to the organization.
Request a reference letter- Now this an extra step that will definitely help you stand out. Most companies ask for references during the interview process, but if you walk into your interview with a raving reference letter ahead of time, you'll absolutely be ahead of the game. If you don’t want to ask your current boss for a letter because you don’t want them to know that you are interviewing, ask a professor, someone you’ve volunteered with or done freelance work with.
During the interview
Take notes- As a common courtesy, first ask your interviewer if it’s okay for you to take notes. If so, write down things that interest you or things you want to know more about. It’s also an opportunity to make notes of questions that you want to ask at the end.
Ask questions- When your interviewer ask if you have questions, please, I beg you, do not say that you don’t have any questions. Even if you have to ask something generic like a question about work/life balance at the company, ask something. You definitely should have questions prepared before the interview, but if you don’t, be sure to think of some during the interview. Freebie: Ask the interviewers what they find most challenging about their job.
After the interview
Say thank you- The follow up is just as important as the interview. Be sure to thank your interviewers for their time. You should send a thank you email within 24 hours of your interview. If you’re really fancy, send a handwritten thank you card and have it mailed express the same day. I did this for my last interview and my boss still talks about it two years later (toots horn). Whatever you do, do not forget to send some form of a thank you.
Notify references- You should have received permission from your references before your interview, but you should absolutely let them know that you’re in the next phase of the interview process and that they may be contacted.
Stay positive- The interview process can be daunting and even if you take all the right steps, sometimes it doesn’t work out. In those cases, don’t be discouraged and be confident that the right job will come to you!
What are some of your go to interview tips?