Interview Tips and Best Practices
An interview represents an important milestone in the job search process. It's critical to make the most of your time with hiring managers and decision makers.
While it's natural to feel some pressure, interviews do not have to be stressful. Using insight gained from years of successfully placing contractors into meaningful job positions, we have outlined some industry best practices and tips to help you navigate the interview process.
Before the interview, reflect on your greatest accomplishments, strengths and improvement opportunities. List these for yourself and be ready to share them when the appropriate interview questions arise. Make sure you can explain how your accomplishments supported your past employers and think of examples when your strengths applied in a work situation. Don’t forget to also think through your weaknesses and be prepared to talk about skills you’re working on or how you have improved your development opportunities.
Know the company
Learn as much as you can about the company and the open position by talking with your consultant and conducting research on your own. Interviewers appreciate and respect candidates who show an understanding of their environment.
Work with your consultant to gain unique insight into the company culture, interviewers and what type of questions to expect. We also recommend that you enlist friends or family members to help review potential interview questions about your experience, skills and career goals. Practice can help make you feel more comfortable and confident.
During interviews, express yourself in a lively, confident manner and make eye contact with the hiring manager, even if you are nervous. Enthusiasm shows the interviewer you have the desire and energy to get the job done. Additionally, the people interviewing you will be drawn to your pleasant and confident attitude.
Take several copies of your CV with you to the interview. Also prepare three to five questions, at minimum, for your interviewers. You can come with the questions written down in a portfolio. It is also acceptable to jot down a few notes as the interviewer answers your questions.
Men should wear a suit, dress shirt and tie. Women should dress conservatively. Best practice is to opt for neutral suit colours such as black, navy, grey or brown. Any tattoos should be covered, and jewellery should be minimal.
After the interview, write a thoughtful thank you note to the interviewer(s); alternatively, your consultant can help you send this to your interviewer. Thank you notes should be individualised for each interview but can be addressed to more than one person if each interviewed you at the same time. Your thank you note should express your appreciation of the interviewer's time and interest, restate your interest in the role and recap the strengths you can bring to the position.
Remember, every position you hold in your career serves as another feather in your cap. Once you receive an offer and begin a job, make sure you stay focused on delivering your best work. When you are ready to move on, it is important to have allies and references who can offer great insight to your skills and qualifications.