I recently got together with an old colleague and business professional, Jennifer Napierkowski, who is the Assistant Director in Career Services at Northampton Community College. While working with her, I learned about many of the ins and outs of the business world including resumes, interviewing, and networking.
Together Jennifer and I came up with steps to a successful interview.
- Dress for Success
- Jen and I agreed that you should always dress one notch above what the work environment entails. In other words, dress for the job you want! It is also a good idea to assess how you or others might dress for the position and tailor your interview attire to that.
- As an example, an interesting thing I learned from Jen is not to wear dangly earrings because they may be distracting from what you are saying.
- One of the most important elements to employers while interviewing is enthusiasm for the position and a demonstration of understanding the position and its job descriptions. Jen says, “Applicants should have a clear understanding of the job description and be able to describe how they would be a good fit for the role.” Also be sure to research the company itself.
- Body Language
- This is important right from the start because we begin body language from the initial greeting.
- It is important to maintain/make eye-contact as a form of respect but also to show your interviewer that you are listening. Jen mentions that she notices when an interviewee is nervous. The inclination is to keep talking, but Jen suggests that they should take a moment to relax and remember to listen just as much as they speak.
- Things to look out for while you are interviewing are increased hand gesturing, filler words, eye contact, and posture.
- Asking Good Questions
- You should ALWAYS have good questions to ask at the end or even throughout your interview. This is important because it shows your interviewer you are engaged and want the conversation to keep going.
- These should not include your general questions about salary. Jen says she is most impressed when the questions are more out of the box. For example, “What do you see as successful characteristics who someone that would fit this position?” This allows you to assess the needs of the employers and create an opening to become the solution for them.
- Follow Up
- After the interview: Reach out to the interviewer(s) either with a handwritten note or email. In this follow up you want to pull a piece of information from your interview or something you talked about to connect your interview to the follow up. This is basically a thank you to the employer for their time and consideration and can set you apart from other applicants.
These are just some tips and tricks I learned and I hope they can help with your future interviews. Good Luck!
Written By: Hannah Seltzer