By Michael Reiss
And it is an art. But going on many interviews can make you a seasoned pro. Try to leave forty minutes before your scheduled interview and use the extra time to make sure you are still presentable from the commute and to go over any last minute interview prep. Do you know the company’s mission statement? Are you prepared to talk about the finer details of the job duties? With the added time, you can also get a cup of coffee or tea to get the synapses in your brain firing. Announce you have arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled time. Important: Do not ask to use the bathroom when you arrive! Don't bring your coffee in either--now is the time to look as professional as ever.
The purpose of the interview is to give both parties the opportunity to find out if you could do the job and if you have the personality that matches the culture. Answer questions briefly and succinctly but do not give one-word answers. Most questions are designed for you to provide information about yourself and how you have handled certain situations or problems in your past experiences. If you don’t know the answer to a question, just be honest and say you don’t know the answer because your recent experience didn’t touch on that area. This is far better than stumbling through and answering incorrectly, which may come off as ignorant and unattractive. However, make sure you let the interviewer know that you pick up on new concepts quickly. Provide a brief example of something in the past that you had to learn on the job without prior training.
Since most people like talking about themselves, make the interviewer feel good about their career and they will like you more. Ask them how they decided to take their job there and when they tell you, let them know you admire what they have done with their career and their ascent in the firm. To show added interest in the role, be ready with pertinent questions about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job.
When the interview comes to a close, thank them and let them know of your continued interest and ask when you might hear from them. On your way home, go over the interview while it is still fresh in your mind. Think about where you could have given a better response and research any questions you might have not answered correctly. Most importantly, prepare your follow-up letter.