Prepare For The Interview
Youll want to come prepared with about 5-10 questions. Its a good idea to print them out on a piece of paper so that you can write down their answers during the interview. To come up with this list of questions, start by asking yourself why youre considering this career, and whats important to you in a job. From there, start recording questions that come to mind. For example:
- Do you want to work 9-5, five days a week? > > Ask what their usual work schedule is like, and whether they often take work home with them.
- Do you want to express creativity in your work? > > Ask if they have creative freedom in their projects.
- Can you handle spending many years in post-secondary? > > Ask what post-secondary program they took, or what they currently look for in candidates.
- Do you care about how much money youll make? > > Ask what the average person in this field makes in similar positions .
- Do you have a realistic sense of what people in this field actually do? > > Ask what a common day of work looks like .
Additionally, you might consider a few more open-ended questions like:
- What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?
- Is there anything that especially frustrates you about your job?
- Has your perception of this job changed since working here? If so, how?
- Is there anything that has surprised you?
- What advice can you offer to students considering your career path?
They Ask About Your Interest In The Company
When recruiters think theyâve found the right person, they want to assess the likelihood of getting them on board. They may ask why youâre interested in the company to see how strongly you identify with the businessâs vision, work, and values.
This is another good sign, suggesting an eagerness to work together. Your interest in the company is a significant consideration for interviewers, who may even factor in your level of enthusiasm in standard hiring matrices like this one from the Society for Human Resource Management .â
The Conversation Turns Casual
Interviews arenât just about assessing your hard skills. They are also used to ensure youâre a good fit for the company culturally. If the interviewer opens up a casual conversation , you may have already passed the qualifications check, and theyâre now trying to determine how well youâll mesh with the team.
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Prepare For The Expected
You know that question is coming. The interviewer will ask about your unemploymentso theres no reason to be unprepared.
Instead, know what youre going to say and how youre going to say it. Be honest and focus on the positives. Center the conversation on what youve learned from your unemployment, the skills you worked on during your time off, the hobbies you picked up, or the volunteer work you did. Highlighting these experiences enthusiastically will make you more desirable to employers.
Remember this throughout the process: Your unemployment does not define youyou are a complex person with multiple skills and interests. Make sure your interview reflects that accurately.
If They Hand Over Their Card And Phone Number:
If the interviewer hands over their card and the phone number, asking you to contact they are making sure you stay with them or in touch with them so that they can hire you in their company.
It means they are making sure that you are engaged. When they are inviting you to follow back, it is a great signal of positivity. They might want to ask some more questions regarding you and your preferences. So, if you think some questions are pending from their side, it is yes.
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Choose Your Interview Attire
The day before your interview, choose what you intend to wear so you don’t feel rushed. Make sure your clothes are free of wrinkles and stains and they fit correctly. If you’re unsure of the dress code at the company, it’s best to dress more professionally to make a good impression. You can also call or email the person you’ve been communicating with to get more information about the dress code.
You’re Introduced To Other Team Members
One of the top signs that you’ve performed well during an interview is that they introduce you to other members of the team to talk to while you’re there. Typically, the interviewer would only make multiple other introductions with team members and decision-makers if they think you’re a great fit for the role.
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Prepare Answers To Questions About You And Your Abilities
- Begin by writing a brief introduction of your education and experience.
- Identify which of your skills and accomplishments will help you get the job.
- Write a short summary of those skills and accomplishments. It should say how your qualifications fit the job youre applying for, but not in great detail.
- Give solid examples of how youve used your skills and experience to succeed in other situations. Try using the Situation, Task, Action, Results, Skills method to help guide you.
- Write about how you would use your abilities to meet the interviewers needs.
- Write about how you see yourself developing within the organization.
- Read over your summary.
- Time yourself. Keep your answer to about 2 to 3 minutes.
Don’t Feel Obligated To Provide Details When Taking Time Off
You may feel bad not telling your employer about the nature of your time off, but in reality, it isn’t a requirement that you share details of your personal life. By saying something like “I need to take off Monday for a root canal,” this could create an awkward situation on Tuesday if your employer asks how the procedure went. To minimize your storyline, say something short and to the point like “I need to take off Monday for an appointment.”
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Negative Feelings About Employers/co
Even if you believe you had one of the worst jobs of all time, resist the urge to badmouth them during your job interview. Kristin Scarth, career services manager at Employment BOOST in Troy, Mich., says shes still surprised how many candidates are willing to throw a former boss or co-worker under the bus. As a hiring manager, all I can think is they are going to do that to me, too. When interviewing, you don’t need to share that there was a problem with your old boss or co-workers, because if you had a problem there, it can make it seem as if you’re going to have that problem everywhere.
You may be asked about your present or past employment situation, and while you have to answer, Tracy Cashman, Boston-based senior vice president at WinterWyman Executive Search, tells Investopedia that your answer should be brief and neutral if youre still at the company. If you are no longer at the company, explain why. If you were let go, be honest, but make a short statement about what you learned. If by chance your last manager will still serve as a reference, then mention that, too.
Get A View Of The Future
Asking questions about the growth of the company and its employees is a good idea for two reasons. I always ask what a company’s goals are for the next five to ten years. It gives a good perspective on what their values are and how I may or may not fit with a company, says Diane Kulseth, another young professional. Plus, asking about the future of the company and opportunities for your own growth shows that youre committed and eager to learn. You can ask:
- Where do you see this company in the next few years?
- What can you tell me about your new product or plans for growth?
- What training programs are available to your employees?
- Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
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Telling You Youre A Top Contender
In some cases, the hiring manager will be fairly upfront about their interest in bringing you onboard without formally extending an offer. For example, if you ask them, Is there is anything keeping me from being the top contender for the role? at the end of the interview, and they say, No, thats a good indication that a job offer is on the horizon.
They Ask About Your Salary Requirements After An Interview
I dont want to sound like a broken record here, but again this sign is a lot stronger if it comes at the end of an in-person interview, or better yet a separate conversation where a recruiter or hiring manager reaches back out to discuss your salary after youve met.
If it happens in a phone interview or an initial call with a recruiter, its not a signal that you will get the job. It just means that they like to ask about salary early on and they probably ask everyone.
Note: Heres how to answer, What is your desired salary?
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Learn The Types Of Interview Questions
At this point, its time to start figuring out how to work in relevant details into interview answers. One of the best ways to start is to learn about the different kinds of interview questions.
If you need to say no, youll need a different approach. Pivot by discussing how you intend to acquire the skill or by focusing on your willingness to learn and excitement about professional development. Many hiring managers will consider a candidate who doesnt have every hard skill if they are enthusiastic and have potential, so this method can work.
Practice Your Interviewing Skills
Many people practice for an interview by writing down answers to common interview questions.
While organizing your thoughts on paper is helpful, the best practice is done verbally, alone, with a friend, mentor, or career counselor.
You can schedule a practice interview with a career counselor to get feedback on your interview style, presentation, and body language. We also host a Practice Interview Program that allows you to practice and get feedback from a Columbia alum.
For independent practice in a virtual format, we recommend Big Interview, which you have access to for free through our office. You can practice answering interview questions by industry or job function, record yourself, and use their tool for self-assessment or share any video with a mentor for feedback.
Additional Resources for practicing interview questions
Make sure that you run through the following checklist a few days out from your interview:
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Don’t Be Too Familiar
The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer’s demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.
Keep Your Answers Concise
Since you have a limited amount of time during the interview, deliver thoughtful but concise responses that clearly answer the question. Make sure all of you answers provide value and show the hiring manager why you would be a good fit for the job. Practicing your answers before the interview can help you stay concise.
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When The Interviewer Provides You With A Clear Time Frame:
The companies follow the strict time frame, but if it takes a little longer to recruit the right person, it is not a big deal for them. Any company would like to spend more time if they have to hire the right individual.
So, if they are taking longer with you, and the HR ends the interview and ask when can they hear back from you, itâs a good sign you got the job.
Also, if they are providing you a firm date, then it is a sign they are showing interest in you and probably you are that one candidate they have been searching for.
Signs An Interview Went Well
Looking for signs that your job interview went well?
Candidates usually report one of two opposite reactions after walking out of their first job interview. They either feel they did extremely well or, unfortunately, that they failed completely. Then, they spend a few hours mulling over every small detail of the interview in their minds, reading into what happened. This can turn into something that an old mentor of mine referred to as R& R: Review and Regret not a constructive use of anyone’s time.
If your mind is spinning after an interview, take a deep breath. According to a survey by Management Recruiters International, it takes the majority of candidates three interviews or more to get the job offer. However, the first interview is a big step in the right direction.
It is easy to feel confused as you think through what happened in the job interview. Human communications are inherently messy. Add some interview jitters and you get a recipe for misreading the situation. Did the hiring manager frown because she did not like your answers or because she was not feeling well? You have not heard from your recruiter in over 24 hours is that a bad sign?
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Pay Attention To Body Language
People can learn a lot about each other through their body language. In order to make a strong first impression, be mindful of the messages that your body language is communicating with the interviewer.
When you begin the interview, start with a firm handshake. A firm handshake shows authority and sets the tone for the rest of the interview. Pair it with eye contact and a smile if you want the interviewer to know youre confident in your ability to tackle the job. The limper the handshake, the more timid youll come across.
Throughout the interview, make sure that you sit up straight, keep your head high, and sync your movements with your words. Youll appear assured, which is what employers want in a new hire.
Signs You Will Get The Job After An Interview
How to know if you got the job its something that candidates think about after every interview. Luckily, there are some indicators that suggest your performance was strong and that an offer may be on the horizon.
If youre trying to figure out how to tell if the interview went well, here are 20 signs you will get the job after an interview.
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Questions About How Committed You Are
The interviewer wants to know if you will stay at this job for a while. They want to be sure that the time and money it takes to train you will not be wasted. This is your chance to show them that you are committed.
The interviewer might ask:
- Are you thinking of going back to school or to college?
- What are your long-range goals?
- Why have you changed jobs so often?
The best approach is to give answers that show:
- You have career goals
- Your goals are related to the position youre applying for, which will help show the interviewer that youre committed
Let the interviewer know you wont quit after a short time. Talk about how the job fits into your career plans, but be brief. Remember that interviewers are more interested in hearing about what you can do for the organization than what the organization can do for you.
If youve changed jobs many times, explain why you felt you had to. If you were fired, be honest and try not to get emotional. Tell the interviewer that you expect to stay longer in this job , and focus on the positive things youve learned from your past jobs.
Then change the focus by asking a question. For example, you could say that youre looking for a position that gives you the chance to develop. Then ask the interviewer if youll have a chance to do that in this job.
Remember Your Goal And Stay Focused On That
Looking for a job and going on interviews while employed is going to be a bit stressful, so be ready for that. On one hand, its less pressure when you have a job, but the scheduling part is more stressful.
So remind yourself why youre doing this when you feel stressed, and think about what you stand to gain
- A higher salary
- A job youre more excited about
- A better boss, better coworkers or both
- More exciting projects and work
- A better career path or brighter future for you
And remember youre lucky to be interviewing when you have a job. A lot of people and most of the readers of this blog do not have a job when looking for a job. They have no income coming in and its very stressful/difficult mentally.
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