Research the Company
Have a response ready to go when you’re asked, “Tell me what you know about our company.” Visit the organization’s website to ensure you understand the scope of what the company does. Review the mission, vision, and values. Read press releases for insight on growth and stability. Develop a question list so you’re prepared to ask about the organization during your interview. Spend at least an hour researching before your interview.
Prepare Your Outfit
It may sound trite, but you only have one chance to make a first impression, and your appearance matters! Always dress conservatively – dry clean your suit, and don’t go overboard with accessories. Wear neutral colors, and be polished. If you are interviewing in the middle of the day, be sure you allow time to change. Even for a nurse interview, scrubs are never an option.
You are likely being evaluated from the moment you set foot in the building. Be friendly to the receptionist. Be confident! Smile and use a firm handshake. Sit up straight and be aware of your resume along with a pen and notebook or folder. Leave your cell phone in the car or in your bag. If you leave the phone in your bag, confirm the sound is off. Above all, be energetic and project a positive image!
Prepare a Few Stories
Make a list of your greatest accomplishments and list the skills you used to achieve them. this will make it easier for you to talk about your success. Quantify your results whenever possible (for example – “reduced customer wait time by 50%,” or “exceeded production measures by 75%”). Conversely, you should do the same with your weaknesses.
You may be asked about a previous failure so be prepared to talk about what you learned from the situation.
When explaining job changes, don’t ever say anything negative about a previous employer or manager. Regardless of the situation, find a positive quality, and focus on it.
Have a list of questions so you’ll remember to ask about things that are most important to you. Inquire about a company culture, opportunities, for advancement, measurements of success, corporate social responsibility, etc. Last – and possibly most important – send a thank you note! Good manners and follow through will go a long way.