Laura Decarlo: Hi! I am Laura Decarlo, certified interview coach and President of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, Career Directors International. I am sharing strategies for planning to ace your job interview. Right now, I am going to talk about what to bring, what to expect and how to thrive in your interview.
You have done your company homework, selected appropriate attire, practiced your answers and now you have made it to the interview. Your first step would be to make a dry run. If you don't know where the company is or what traffic would be like to get there, try it out once in advance. Second, gather your materials. You will want to bring your portfolio if you made one, a pen, four copies of your resume, a copy of your cover letter, copies of up to three letters of recommendation, something to take notes on like a legal pad, highlights of your research, a list of questions you want to ask, just in case, a pre-filled out employment application so that you can copy the information without leaving blanks on the company's application, some type of carrying case such as a folder or a briefcase. Next, you want to arrive 15 minutes early to the interview. In the waiting area, be polite and professional with those you encounter, as they will report your behavior to the interviewer. When you meet the interviewer, smile, make good eye contact and use a firm handshake. Now, while you could find yourself in many types of interviews, I am going to discuss the most common which is the one-on-one interview, where you meet directly with one interviewer. As will be the case in any type of interview, be courteous and ask if you may take a seat. Throughout the interview, pay attention, listen and continue to make eye-contact. When you sit in the chair, concentrate on keeping still. Typically, when people are nervous, they tend to fidget. Psychologists say that the best sitting position for interviewing and the safest for not squirming is feet flat on the floor, hands on your lap leaning slightly forward in your seat. Now, be yourself. Hopefully you have practiced enough to be comfortable. Don't try too hard to be so professional that you seem stiff and unnatural. Many people hurt their interview by trying so hard to make a good impression that they come across as having no personality. Expect the interview to start with a few get-acquainted questions before they get into the real ones. Provide solid powerful answers to make the best impression possible and don't forget to show your portfolio as proof. Typically, the interviewer will then ask if you have any questions you would like to ask. You definitely want to be prepared with questions. The questions you ask are just as important as the questions you answer. Not only will they help you learn more about the job, but they will also demonstrate what is most important to you.
Don't be fooled about the value of these questions. Now it's not the time to ask about benefits and salary and overtime. At this point, you are still in the selection process. Until you have an offer, you do not have the job. Only when you have an offer and you are the employer's choice should you can talk about selfish questions such as salary. When selecting questions, you should try to focus on questions that show your interest in the company and the position. Try to have questions based on your research that demonstrate your knowledge as well. For instance, you might ask questions like, I have heard that you are planning to open a new location in Orlando, how is that going to affect this facility? Are you going to just relocate or keep both locations?
You should be prepared to ask about ten questions at your interview, just in case. Before you leave the interview, be sure to thank the interviewer for his or her time, often your references and ask about the next step in the process. Confidently shake hands and be on your way. You did it. When you get home, be sure to write a follow- up thank you letter to the interviewer which reiterates your match for the position and your interest in the next step. Now, there are only a few steps left to make sure your interview is a success. Next, I will share with you how to handle questions about salary requirements to ensure you end up with the best offer possible.