After networking, sending resumes and waiting patiently by the phone, all your hard work has paid off with an invitation to interview. Now it's time for some expert tips on preparing for a job interview. Are you ready with smart answers to tough interviewing questions? What about explaining a job termination during an interview? There are ways to be honest but not hurt your chances of getting hired.
PayScale.com has developed a quick quiz to test your interview savvy. Read through the following true and false statements to assess your interview IQ, then enjoy the follow-up hints for a job interview.
1. Spending a lot of time preparing for a job interview will make me seem desperate.
False – There is nothing worse than an unprepared interviewee. Make sure you have done your homework about the organization and the job skills required before the interview. This will help you when the job interview question, "Why do you want to work here?" is thrown at you. Plus, you can ask knowledgeable questions when your turn comes around.
2. While preparing for a job interview, put yourself in the interviewer's shoes to see things from their perspective.
True – Typically, interviewers are busy and easily distracted. Remember that you may be 1 of 10 people that they have talked to in the last 5 hours. Don't make them struggle to get answers out of you or make sense of your rambling replies.
3. Role playing to prepare for typical interview questions is really important.
True- Practicing your responses to typical interview questions is paramount. Role play with a friend and get feedback on how you come across. For example, if you say that you are really excited about the job but sound hesitant, you will not seem credible.
4. If you have reservations about your abilities or skills for the position you should tell the whole truth.
True/False- You should not tell a lie and say you have five years of experience when you really have two. Nor should you fully disclose your inadequacies. If you left your last job because you were fired, there's no need to bring that up. When the employer asks you about your biggest mistake, pick a less emotionally charged experience and emphasize what you learned from it.
5. A job interview is a one-direction conversation, like on a talk show.
False – Having a one-sided interview can be exhausting for both parties. Make sure that while you are preparing for a job interview, you come up with at least 10 engaging and relevant questions to ask. Even better, have some questions about their favorite subject – themselves. An example is, "Tell me about your job and what you love about it?"
6. Interviewers are like dogs; they can smell my fear.
True- Interviewing is the quintessential example of dogs sniffing each other out. Like a dog, the interviewer will be trying to determine your overall confidence. Your body language indicates your level of self-esteem. Remember, a shaking leg or deer in headlights expression can matter more than how well you answer the questions.
7. The "real me" will shine through whether I'm dressed in pajamas or a suit.
False- Whether we like it or not, what we wear helps form a first impression. Here are some attire hints for a job interview. See if you can get some insider information on the dress code and whether it is more casual or formal. If you don't know, opt for formal. For women, remember it's about getting a job not a date. Stay away from low cut or short anything.
8. Sending a thank you note is an important way of standing out.
True- Thank you notes are not only about good etiquette but self-marketing, too. How can a simple card help you seal the deal? Start by mentioning something you learned about your interviewer. You could say, "I really enjoyed our conversation about your first years at Boeing." Then, write a quick summary of the conversation and why you are perfect for the job.
9. Making demands for your ideal salary and vacation in the initial interview is a risky proposition.
True- While you are aching to know the starting salary and benefits right off the bat, it's a bit risky to ask these types of questions initially. Reserve negotiations on these matters until you have a job offer.
10. It doesn't matter if I'm 5 minutes late. Everyone runs late to interviews.
False – It's okay for your interviewer to be late, but the interviewee needs to be on time or 5-10 minutes early. Even if you have a good reason for being late, the interviewer will make assumptions about your level of organization and how you treat others. Plus, getting there early gives you time to compose yourself and shake off your coffee jitters.
C.J. Liu is a certified, professional coach who helps professionals define success on their own terms. C.J. offers life, business, and career coaching and can answer your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.