Before the Interview
Search for information about the company
Almost every company or business has a website with lots of information about it. You can find information about when the company was started, who started it, the executive leadership team, and future plans. Knowledge of this information shows your interest.
Search and find questions that are generally asked by interviewers. Prepare and rehearse your response.
Get plenty of sleep
The night before your interview get plenty of sleep. You don’t want to come to the interview “tired.” Getting plenty of sleep allows you to be more focused and alert during the interview.
Prepare your attire
Wear professional clothing. What is professional clothing? Jeans and t-shirts are not professional clothing. For men, wear a collared white long sleeve dress or colored dress shirt with a tie and slacks. For women, sun dresses are not appropriate. Women do not necessarily need to wear a collared shirt, but an appropriate blouse with a skirt or slacks might be best. Your prior research on the business should tell you how to dress. Do not wear wrinkled clothing, excessive cologne or perfume, or a lot of jewelry. If you are unsure about tattoos, err on the side of caution. Wear clothing that covers your tattoos. Make sure you are well groomed. Go get that interview haircut or style!
Find the location
If you don’t know where the company is located, find it before the day of your interview. Locate the company using an online map if possible. Then, if you have the time go to the location where the interview will be conducted the day before to gauge traffic and travel time.
Try to arrive 15 minutes early. This gives you time to find parking, freshen up a bit, and calm your nerves before the interview. Most likely you will be met by a receptionist or the person who will interview you. Remember you only get to make a first impression once. If you are met by a receptionist, you can be sure that those who interview you will ask them about their first impression of you.
Bring necessary materials
Bring extra copies of your resume, references, cover letter, and if necessary your portfolio. Make sure you have reviewed your resume and all other materials.
Write a brand or marketing pitch
Remember you are selling the interviewer and company on you. You are the best person to market yourself. Write a brief summary about you without bragging, about what you can bring to the business, and who you are. Practice this with a friend or your parents before the interview.
*** Turn off cell phones and do not chew gum ***
During the Interview
When you meet the interviewer, make sure you extend a firm handshake, make eye contact, and demonstrate common courtesy. Address them as “yes sir” and “yes ma’am” on initial contact and throughout the interview. Remember their name, and to use it as Mr. or Ms. Smith.
Show positive attitudes, energy, and excitement during the interview.
Use proper language
Do not use slang. Do not use profanity or any other unprofessional comments. Respond in complete sentences. Don’t babble or use crutch phrases such as, “like” and “ugh or uhh.” Some interviewers will count how many times you use a crutch phase. It can be reflective of your inability to form a complete thought or response.
May sure you sit with good posture and show great body language. Avoid facial expressions, staring up at the ceiling, rolling your eyes, and sitting with your arms crossed. Body language communicates what you are not saying verbally. Make eye contact with the interviewer(s). If there is more than one interviewer when you respond to a question, make eye contact with the person that asked the question first, and then make eye contact while responding to the question with others.
Integrity and honesty
Answer all questions honestly. Do not lie. This can’t be stressed enough. But you don’t want to be an open book. Don’t give out all of your personal information. As matter of fact, most employers should not ask questions about your family or personal life during an interview.
After the interviewer(s) finishes asking questions
Now this is your opportunity to ask questions. Ask questions about the job, and the company. This demonstrates interest and preparedness. If possible, avoid questions and conversations about pay. Prior research should give you an idea about the salary for the position. If asked, make sure that you don’t lowball your figure or price yourself out of a job. This is a delicate question that you may not be prepared to answer as a high school or college student.
Send thank cards or emails to the interviewers. Thank them, while continuing to express interest in the position. If you are notified that you did not get the job, try to contact the interviewer and ask why. Inform them that you are seeking information for improvement in the future.