To have a successful job interview, there are a few key things you need to focus on. Preparation beforehand is critical, as is the way you perform in the interview itself and the way you follow up afterwards. These tips will help you ace your next virtual or in-person interview.
Before the interview.
It’s important to research the company you’ll potentially be working for so that you have a better understanding of the company culture and what working there is like. Look at the company’s website as well as sites like Glassdoor to get a feel for what employees think about working for the company. Read reviews to see if anything raises a red flag and if overall employee outlook on the company is positive or negative.
It’s just as important for you to ask questions at the end of a job interview as it is for you to answer them, because that helps you gain more insight into what working at the company is really like. You want to make your questions as specific as possible and avoid asking anything that could be answered by going to their website. If you want to know about company culture, try asking for clarification of something you’ve read – ‘I saw on the website that one of your core values is learning. Can you tell me more about the kind of learning and development options that you offer?’
During the interview.
Make a great first impression.
You first impression begins the moment you turn on your video in Zoom. It’s of utmost importance that your background is clean and clutter free and you are dressed professionally. If you can’t find a good background in your home, use a virtual one instead. Replace the handshake with a greeting and thank the hiring manager for inviting you to the interview. Be sure to look directly at the camera when you’re speaking so that it gives the impression you’re looking the hiring manager in their eyes. You can look at them when they’re speaking, but when it’s your turn, speak to the camera not their picture.
Talk about more than just what’s on your resume.
The hiring manager has already looked over your resume, so they know the details of your work history. The interview is when you can elaborate and give more details about your accomplishments and the type of work you did. Back up your answers with statistics wherever possible, as this helps to show how you’ll add value to the company.
Don’t answer yes or no questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Always elaborate on your answers. Saying yes or no doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything about you, so don’t throw away an opportunity to sell your abilities by using one word answers. If you’re asked if you have experience working with a specific program or software, say yes and explain how you used it. If your answer is no, think of something comparable that you do have experience with and explain how you think it’s relevant.
Stay in contact with the hiring manager.
No matter how well or how poorly you think the interview went, you absolutely must follow up afterwards. A quick message to the hiring manager thanking them for their time goes a long way. In your follow up, you should include the position you interviewed for, a quick takeaway from your interview, and a reiteration about why you’d like the job. If you want to get creative, you can send a video message or a link to your website if you have a portfolio of work you’d like to share.
Continue to follow up regarding next steps like a second round of interviews or a decision being made. You should already know when the hiring manager intends to reach out, so be proactive and send an email if you haven’t heard from them by a few days after they said they’d be in touch. Keep this email short and to the point – a couple of sentences will suffice.
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