Preparation is key to a successful interview. To impress a prospective employer, be ready to answer difficult interview questions, feature your strengths, and ask the right questions.
Are you ready for the interview that could lead to your dream job? No matter how nerve-wracking the process can be, some careful research and a little practice can help get you the offer you've been hoping for.
Preparation Is Everything
Nancy Branton, president of People Potential Group, is a certified career management coach and certified life coach who works with executives in career transition. She says that one of the key things to think about as you prepare for your interview is the question you're most concerned they'll ask.
"By thinking about that question, you can immediately identify where you're on shaky ground," she explains. "If you're concerned about sharing why you left your last position, why you're switching careers or why you have a gap in employment, create a quick, concise answer and practice it until you're able to answer the question and move on."
Sell Your Strengths
Many interview questions are behaviorally based, which means you need to have several examples ready. "The interviewer could ask you to talk about a time when you had a conflict with another person, how you handled it and what the outcome was," explains Branton. Share examples that have positive outcomes that highlight your strengths and abilities.
Branton also advises being clear about your personal brand. "Think about what will differentiate you from the other candidates who are interviewing - be sure to talk about the characteristics that set you apart and make you shine."
Questions You Should Ask
"The best questions to ask the hiring manager are content-specific about the company's vision or mission, company structure and the position's responsibilities," shares Branton. Don't ask about salary, benefits, work hours or the career path until you have an offer and the company is invested in you.
Hurry Up And Wait
Waiting for a call back can be stressful, but your post-interview follow-up is an important step in the process. To make follow-up easier, Branton suggests asking about the next steps at the end of your interview. Ideally you'll learn how long it will be before they contact you.
Be sure to send or drop off a thank you note, preferably hand-written, and then be reasonable about calling or e-mailing to check in, following the timing the hiring manager has outlined.Quick Interview Tips