Mastering the Interview

Game Time: Mastering the Art of the Interview
By: Meghann Olshefski

So you’ve arranged an interview! Your first response is elation…followed closely by pre-interview anxiety.  Relax. 

Getting an interview is half the battle.   If you have an interview you know that the employer knows you have the right skills and qualifications needed to do the job. Now is your opportunity to find out more information about the job and organization. Remember, you are interviewing the employer just as the employer is interviewing you.

The key to a great interview is your ability to master the basics.  Here are five simple interview strategies to help you stay ahead of the competition.

•   Do Your Homework

Research the organization thoroughly. Know what that organization’s mission statement is, when it was founded, who key staff members are, and most importantly why you want to work there.

•   Mind Your Body Language

You have 14 seconds to make a lasting first impression. Give a sincere smile, look the interviewer in the eye, have a confident, self-assured posture, and master a firm handshake (but not too firm!).

•   Dress the Part 

Err on the side of professionalism.  Always wear business attire like a neatly pressed, tailored suit. If you’re a man, you must wear a dark blue or charcoal suit with an understated button-down shirt and a power tie with minimal pattern.  For women, navy or dark gray skirt suits are preferable. Make sure your hair is pulled back and wear minimal makeup, perfume and jewelry. A little bit of a heel (but not too high!) helps boost confidence.

•   Be Engaged in the Conversation

You should talk about 50% of the time and come to the interview prepared with questions about the job and what it’s like to work with that company or organization. Don't forget to ask for the job before it's over.

•   Follow Up!

Always send a prompt thank you email as well as a sincere, handwritten note to each person you meet at the interview. Ask when you can hear back from the interviewer and follow up with that person if he or she hasn’t followed through on their promise. Hiring managers get busy. Reasonable persistence demonstrates that you really want the job.

Do you have more questions about what to do at your next interview? Contact the Leadership Institute today for professional career advice or attend one of our Career Trainings for in-depth lectures on mastering the art of the job search.

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