How to Prepare to Meet Your Next Employer

The purpose of an interview is to sell yourself to your potential new employer. Here are a few tips to help guide you through an interview.

Do your homework

Google the company’s website.

  • Is it independently owned, part of a regional or national chain, and if so, where are other locations?
  • What is its main product?
  • Are you focusing on an industry and an occupation that are growing, and therefore offer much greater possibilities for advancement and compensation?

First Impressions

Make sure to dress for success. Even if a job does not require daily formal attire, show respect for the company and the process by dressing “up” for the interview. If you need assistance with organizations or resources for interview outfits, a representative in the SC Works center can help with recommendations depending on the company.

You will impress people with your preparation and your manners. Introduce yourself, shake hands, maintain good eye contact with focused attention, speak slowly and avoid slang.

Practice Makes Perfect

The best way to prepare for an interview is to role play. Grab a friend or relative and have them play the interviewer. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel in the actual interview. A few tips to help you answer questions effectively include:

  • Make sure to answer questions thoroughly – not just a yes or no response.
  • However, make sure not to ramble on and on. Answer the question completely, but be concise.
  • To ace an interview, brainstorm your responses– making sure your answers truly reflect you and are related to the job you want, and then rehearse them again and again. You need short, honest and to-the-point answers.
  • Listen to yourself as you answer. It is one thing to know an answer in your head and another to say it out loud. Does your answer make sense? Ask your helper if they have any suggestions.

You Should Ask Questions Too

Individuals conducting an interview will usually ask a candidate if they have any questions. You might think of specific questions about the job during the interview conversation, however, you should always have a few general questions prepared. If they invite you to ask questions, you should definitely ask something – it shows interest and investment in their company.

Some examples include:

  • Can you tell me more about the job duties for this position?
  • How would I be trained?
  • How would my job success be tracked or rated?
  • Can you tell me if this is a new job or why this job is open?
  • You also need to ask a question that will help you understand – and also convey to the hiring manager – your concern about the opportunities for professional growth and advancement. The impression you want to give is that you are ambitious and want to move ahead.This is a crucial question:Did the people before you leave because they could not move up within the organization, or does the vacancy exist because this position is watched for promotion opportunities?

A Polished Exit

Make sure to leave an interview on a high note.

  • Thank the person for taking the time to meet with you.
  • Ask them for their business card.
  • Tell them you would really like to have this opportunity and look forward to hearing from them.

Following Up

A thank you note is a nice touch. It is a simple way to make a good impression and stand out on a desk piled with rival resumes.

Because you remembered to take the hiring manager’s business card, you have the name, the title and the mailing address. All you need to do is thank them for talking to you, and best of all, talk about a comment the hiring manager made during your interview. Was something said about the need for strong “people” skills?  If so, add a some language to reinforce your strengths in that area.

Close with enthusiasm for the job, and one last thank you.