How well do you interview for jobs?
Do you rock interviews with all the swagger of Mick Jagger or do you feel out of rhythm and off-key?
If you need some fine tuning, here are 10 tips from PPL Corporate Talent Manager Brian Case, who recently taught a class called “Interview Like a Rock Star” during Bloomsburg University’s 7th Career Intensive Boot Camp.
1. Conduct research on the company.
Explore the company website and look for its vision, mission and values. Review company webpages for career profiles and company culture. Research what is available in the news about the company. This way, you can speak intelligently about the company during the interview.
2. Research your interviewers.
When your interview is scheduled, ask who you will be meeting with and what titles they hold. Explore online resources like LinkedIn to learn about the career paths of the interviewers. Learning an interviewer’s background can help you figure out what it takes to make it to their position and referencing their experience will show you came prepared.
3. Review job description and identify desired skills and competencies.
Revisit the job description or posting for which you applied. Look for basic requirements, preferred requirements and desired skills or competencies. Interview questions will likely drill into further discussion on these topics. Prepare stories that show how you demonstrated the desired skills and what outcomes you achieved.
4. Dress appropriately.
When your interview is scheduled, inquire about the dress code. Always consider dressing one step above the dress code. As the saying goes, dress for success.
5. Speak clearly.
Companies are looking for excellent communication skills. Regardless of what position you will be in, you will likely need at some point to be in critical discussions – perhaps presentations, or a situation which requires you to influence. Good communication skills are critical, so be prepared to display these skills throughout any phone conversations or interviews with the company.
6. Be courteous.
Common courtesy goes a long way. Be appreciative. Say thank you.
7. Prepare questions.
Most interviewers will allow for questions at the end of the interview. This is your opportunity to have questions answered that may be critical to your ultimate decision if given an offer. “Is this a place I could be happy working at 8 to 10 hours a day?” Have questions prepared in advance or ask for clarification of anything that may have come up during the interview. Questions also show you are engaged and interested.
8. Let your passion show.
If you really have interest in the job, display some genuine enthusiasm and passion about the company and the role. Companies are seeking engaged employees.
9. Ask for next steps.
Do not hesitate to ask what comes next. Will they be conducting further interviews? Will they contact you in a certain amount of time? Can you contact them? Who should you contact? Ask for business cards or contact information if they are willing to share this information. Be respectful of their answers and instructions. If they tell you one thing, don’t do something different.
10. Express interest.
Send a thank you and follow-up: End the interview by expressing a sincere interest in the position. Send an email saying thank you. Recall something from the interview that stood out to make your thank you personalized. And even if you don’t land the position, be courteous and say thank you and express again your interest in the company. You never know when another position may become available and it pays to maintain a positive image.