Searching for a job can be stressful, and interviewing for jobs can be even more so! Still, in order to win a job offer, you need to be sure that your interview skills are sharp and that you’re putting your best foot forward at every opportunity. Western Union (WU) has compiled 5 interview tips from WU’s top recruiters to help you impress your interviewer and get a leg up on the competition.
- Get a Good Night’s Rest Before Your Interview
There are a few things you can completely control in the interview process, and one of them is making sure you get a good night’s rest before your interview, so you can be focused and sharp. Appearances are important in making a good first impression, so a solid night’s sleep will also help ensure that you look fresh, awake, and put together.
- Do Your Research
It’s important to show genuine interest in the company that you’re interviewing with by researching it beforehand and understanding the products and services the business offers. If you have any insights or recommendations based on your research, it can show extra initiative.
Also, come prepared with your own questions that are applicable to the role you’re interviewing for. It’s a great idea to print out the job description so that you can refer to it in the interview and make sure that you clearly understand what the job entails. Additionally, print out a paper copy of your resume so you have it handy if the interviewer asks to see it.
It’s also wise to prepare questions about the company culture. You want to make sure that your background and personality matches the culture, and that it would be a comfortable fit for you. A great way to see if a workplace would be a good fit is to network through appropriate contacts, and set up “informational interviews” to gain further insight into the company, and perhaps even open some doors for yourself along the way.
- Dress for Success
It’s crucial to dress professionally for your interview, but you also want to make sure that your clothing fits in with the setting. For instance, if the workplace is a casual startup where everyone wears jeans and trainers, it may be awkward if you interview wearing a three-piece suit. On the contrary, if the dress code in the office is formal, you want to make sure you respect it.
Your networking can come in handy here, allowing you the ability to ask questions to “scope out” the company culture before interviewing. If you don’t have an inside contact at the company, you can politely ask the person who coordinated your interview if there is a dress code you should abide by.
- Prepare Interview Responses Using the STAR Method
It’s a smart idea to prepare for typical questions that interviewers tend to ask, such as “Can you tell me about a time that you went above and beyond for a customer?” and “Talk about a stressful or difficult situation and how you overcame it.”
A helpful method is the STAR Method: Situation, Task, Action, Result
Situation: Describe the context of the specific situation you faced in your example.
Task: What was your goal, or the task that needed to be accomplished?
Action: What actions did you take to address or fix the situation? Make sure to keep the focus on yourself and your personal contribution.
Result: Discuss the outcome of the situation, and how your actions helped contribute to that outcome. Keep everything positive and focus on what you learned and how the outcome benefited your team and the company.
Although it’s important to prepare, leave some room to be flexible so that you don’t come off as too rehearsed. Be sure to be honest, genuine, and truly yourself!
- Closing Strong
As the interview is ending, be sure to leave on a positive note. After learning about the job and the company, share with the recruiter where you stand in terms of your interest in the position. Ask the interviewer how they’d like to be followed up with and when. Finally, be sure to send a thank-you note after the interview thanking the recruiter for his or her time, and restating your interest in the job. If it’s time-sensitive, an emailed thank-you works, however, if possible, a handwritten note sent via postal mail can provide a more personal touch.
If you follow these tips, you’re sure to put yourself in a position to succeed at your next job interview. Do you have any other interview tips that have helped you in a job search? Share them in the comments!