Interviewing with Class

The phone rings.... it's the call you've been waiting for and they want to see you tomorrow! You are thrilled and frightened at the same time. The 'what ifs' start pouring in and you begin to doubt your own skills. Just stop right there!

Don't let the prospects of failure consume you. You have already succeeded in reaching the interview stage. Celebrate that success and each little one after that. Consider this interview as just another step in the hiring process and be prepared for it.

"When you're prepared, you're more confident. When you have a strategy, you're more comfortable."
Fred Couples

Fred is right. When you have a strategy in life, you break down your goals into small bites that are easier to manage. You are encountering the same challenge with gaining employment. There are several steps that you must successfully pass before you reach your goal. If you go into your interview prepared and able to anticipate their requests, you've won the interview phase.

Follow these steps, and you are on your way to scoring a job.

Dress for success. Know what you are going to wear and make sure that you feel comfortable in it. If you are afraid of overdressing, don't worry - overdress. You will have a better chance of success if you dress the part.

Come prepared. Bring your working portfolio, extra copies of your resume, professional references, and other work related documents (like certifications or credentials).

Know your skills and experience. You need to know what you have to offer the employer and make sure that you merge your skills with what the employer needs.

Ask questions. Show your interest in the position by asking questions that help you to better understand the position and benefits. You want to know that this job actually aligns with your needs. After all, why pursue a job if it doesn't meet your needs. Find out when they are planning on making a decision and when you will be contacted.

Get names. Remember the names of the important people that you interacted with before, during, and after the interview. You will need to thank them for your time with an email to reinforce your interest in the position.

Be happy. Show your future employer that you are a happy person that needs a job. You are more likely to be hired if you are pleasant and approachable. Having a smile on your face helps you to accomplish this.

Follow up. If you haven't heard from them in a week, follow up with your contacts and ask if they have already made a hiring decision. They might have already hired someone and if they tell you that they have, don't let that discourage you. Ask about future openings and whether you can be considered for those future positions.

Winning a successful interview is just another step in the employment process. With planning and preparation, you will prove to your interviewer that you are the employee they need. After all, being well prepared is a skill that employers look for in their employees.