A Step By Step Guide To The Job Interview Process

Approach the interview process by these five simple steps and you will be sure to make a great impression.

After you land that dream interview, it is important to put your best self forward in the interview process. Follow these five easy fail-proof steps and you will be on your way to making a great impression.

In Advance:

Step 1: Pre-interview preparation

Before you walk into the interview, it is important that you know everything possible about the company with which you are applying for employment. Not only will your research help you decide whether this organization is really a good fit for you, but you will also impress your interviewer with your knowledge.

Knowing the company will give you an edge over the competition. It may sound surprising, but many people walk into interviews unprepared - not knowing much about the company they are interviewing with at all! Study the mission and vision statements. Most companies post a list of their values and include a philosophy statement as well. Make sure to be aware of any appropriate awards the company may have won - and mention them! Also, know the competition and be able to comment on "what the other guy is doing" differently.

Furthermore, if the company has a list of events posted, tell the interviewer that you are interested in attending an event "so that can see if you fit in." Let your interviewers know that this interview is not just one out of a schedule of many (even if it is). You need to be able to convince your interviewer that you are dedicated to the company already and have gone to the trouble of learning everything you can in advance.

At the Interview:

Step 2: Smile

You can never underestimate the value of a broad and confident smile, especially if it is genuine. Many people fail to smile during interviews. Perhaps they are nervous. Perhaps they are just not smilers. Whatever the reason, smiling is possibly the best advice any one can take to an interview.

A note of warning: Smiling too often can have an adverse affect as you may appear to be smiling out of nervousness. Smile often, but only when appropriate. Make sure your smile is not forced.



Step 3: Thoughtful Answers

Many interviewees, especially inexperienced ones, tend to think that they have to answer questions right away. When you answer quickly, you tend to create and impression that you are afraid to be caught without an answer and that you are not a very meticulous or thoughtful responder (which could reflect in your business style as well) in addition to appearing as if you were anticipating the question and had already created a canned response.

One strategy when responding to questions, whether or not you know the answer, is to pause, look pensive and say, "That's a great question - one that no one ever asks me. Let me take a minute to think about it if you do not mind." Most interviewers will allow you to take a few moments to answer. About 30 seconds is the maximum amount of time you should take for the "effective pause."

Step 4: Interview the Interviewer

Most interviewers spend their time asking questions but rarely receiving them reflected back at them. Interviewing the interviewer is a clever strategy. Not only do you flatter your interviewer by showing interest in him or her, but you also can use this method as a defense against a question you do not know how to answer.

An example of using this strategy as a defense: Your interviewer gives you a scenario in which you are supposed to make a leadership decision. After reflecting on the problem at hand, you are unsure how to answer. Instead of giving an answer that you do not totally believe in, simply say, "That is a tough situation. I think I would ___, but it would be hard to guess at this point. What would you do?" Engaging the interviewer in a dialogue can also help to create a comfortable relationship between the two of you.

Step 5: Follow-up note

Always send a prompt follow-up note. Tip: Pick out a note card with an image that has something to do with a topic brought up in the interview. For example, if your interviewer mentioned that he enjoys hot air balloon rides on the weekends, find a note card with a hot air balloon on the cover. Mention in the note that you saw the card and thought of him. Showing that you remember details not only tells your interviewer that HE made an impression on you, but it also reflects on your potential value to the company.

© High Speed Ventures 2011