What to Do Before, During and After a Job Interview


Sharon Armstrong, Career Coach at the upcoming ACFE Global Fraud Conference, June 12-17
Author of The Essential HR Handbook and The Essential Performance Review Handbook

“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross,” said Aristotle, “there lies your vocation.” 

The interview is your opportunity to communicate the value you can add to an organization. You need to sell yourself effectively. To do that, you need to match the position requirements with your own set of skills, accomplishments and personal qualities. Know exactly what you have to offer your prospective employer. Then research, prepare and practice.

But never forget that the interview process is a two-way street. While the interviewer is checking you out to determine if you are a good fit for the job, you should be deciding if the employer is a good match for you. Which means you don’t just answer questions in an interview, you ask them, too.

Here’s some helpful information to help you plan for that all-important meeting. Customize these reminders to your own situation and use them to nail the interview and land the job: 

Before the Interview:

  • Visit the company website and get informed about the organization, its services and its products.
  • Know something about the interviewers, if possible.
  • Practice common interview questions. (Be prepared to answer ‘conflict’ type questions.)
  • Be prepared to ask questions. (You’ll get high marks for any substantive question…questions about the organization, the future of the organization, your role, the value you can add, how you can work effectively with your boss, etc.)
  • Bring extra copies of your résumé and reference list.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Arrive a little early.
  • Be polite and professional as soon as you walk in the door.

At the Interview

  • Practice direct eye contact.
  • Listen.
  • Give good ‘accomplishment’ answers.
  • Be yourself.
  • Be truthful.
  • Stay positive.
  • Demonstrate integrity.
  • Smile easily and warmly.
  • Ask questions.
  • Show enthusiasm.
  • Let the interviewer know that you’ve reviewed the organization’s website and what you learned.

After the Interview

  • A follow-up letter should be sent promptly after every interview!
  • Do a pros/cons list.
  • Critique your performance.
  • Contact your references.

An interview is the single most important hurdle in your job search. How you plan for the interview ahead of time will go a long way toward determining its outcome. The key to an effective interview is to separate yourself from the crowd by exceeding the interviewer’s expectations. Only then will you be invited to continue in the selection process and eventually receive an offer.

Try these ideas in your search and let me know how they turn out at the Career Connection at this year’s ACFE Global Fraud Conference, June 12-17, 2016.