Congratulations, you have submitted your resume! Now, it is time to prepare for your interview. Typically a recruiter or a human resource representative will arrange a phone screening. The recruiter will want a better understanding of the details on your resume, learn your goals and interests, as well as obtain references. Let the recruiter know your salary and benefit expectations, location, title, and the culture of the organization. Let them know what type of environment you will thrive in as well as positions that have not benefited you.
Before providing references, be sure to ask for permission. You should not use a current manager or colleague unless you have already resigned. Instead, select a former supervisor or professor who will positively account for your accomplishments. Consider coaching your references on your resume and the position for which you are seeking.
After the screening and references are checked, if the recruiter feels as though you are a strong candidate, they will schedule an interview for you. Prepare for the interview by carefully looking at the job description. Be prepared to discuss how your experience matches the qualifications the employer is looking for and be ready to speak to areas that you have less experience.
Perform research on the company and role. Check out their website, Facebook, or Instagram. Familiarize yourself with the company mission and/or philosophy. Prepare answers to common interview questions such as:
- Why are you interested in working for us?
- How do your skills match our need?
- What would your prior employer tell me about you?
- Prepare stories for actual situations that may have been challenging or where you had a positive outcome.
- Why did you leave your last position? Remember to stay positive when speaking about past employment.
Next prepare several thoughtful questions for the interviewer(s):
- What are the company’s expectations for their employees?
- What is the experience level of staff/do you have mentoring?
- Why do they work for the company?
- Wait on asking salary and benefit information until they move to an offer.
Be sure to arrive 10 to 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time and know the names of the people you are meeting with. Bring a notepad, pen, and two copies of your resume – one for you to reference and one for them. Also, bring a copy of your references. Be sure to dress appropriately; business casual is typically acceptable. Consider covering all tattoos and remove excessive piercings, have neat and clean fingernails, avoid using perfume or scented lotions, brush your teeth, do not chew gum, and leave your coffee in the car.
Try to be relaxed during the interview; be confident, but not overconfident. Be friendly while maintaining professionalism. Give the interviewer a firm handshake and greet them with a smile. Sit up straight, look the interviewer in their eyes, intermittently look at your resume or write a note to avoid an uncomfortable moment. Remember to breathe, slow your speaking, and listen thoroughly before providing your answer.
Finally follow up with hand-written thank you, if not possible, a personalized email will suffice.