Job seekers spend a lot of time and energy applying for positions, but when invited for an interview many are caught like a deer in the headlights -- unprepared and trying to cram for the interview they worked so hard to win. Here are seven things your interviewer wants you to know and action steps to help you successfully navigate the interview process:
It is tough to hire a quality employee. It's ironic that unemployment is so high, but there is a definite war for talent. Your interviewer is likely tired of looking for someone to hire and rooting for you to be the perfect fit. Focus on how you can be the ideal candidate. Make a list of your qualifications and rehearse answers to, "Why should we hire you?"
No one wants to interview a slob. Dress professionally, even if you're an internal candidate or are interviewing for an entry-level position with no dress code. You don't need a three-piece suit, but if you look like you're on the way to a supermarket, it gives the impression you don't care very much about the opportunity.
Eye contact and body language are important. Studies show interviewees make a defining impression within the first 30 seconds. Don't slouch in your chair or fidget.
No one wants to listen to long, drawn out replies. Keep your answers brief and to the point. If your interviewer is compiling a mental grocery list while you are speaking, you can bet you're not going to be the top candidate. Time yourself speaking for one minute. You may be surprised by how much you can say in a short time. Identify common interview questions, such as, "Tell me about yourself." Don't mistake this for an open invitation to share your entire autobiography!
Directly answering questions is key to successful interviewing. Listen carefully, especially if inquiries have multiple parts. Don't be afraid to jot down some notes, especially if they'll help you address each inquiry succinctly.
It's important to demonstrate what you know about the company. A little research goes a long way.
Have questions for the interviewer. If you have nothing to ask, it makes you seem uninterested in the job. When you prepare, identify some unique questions for your employer. Don't ask anything you could easily find via research. If you come up with a thought-provoking question -- one that isn't found on lists of questions to ask -- it will help you stand out from the competition.