Surveys from the National Association of Colleges and Employers show that employers seek candidates with the following skills:
Interview preparation begins long before you meet a company representative. In many ways, you have been preparing all your life by developing communication skills. The ability to communicate, to sell, and to market yourself are critical to getting the job offer, the primary purpose of a job interview.
Remember, in a job search, you are the only product. You are what you are selling. It is important that you:
You will be unable to answer questions about these areas if you haven't taken time to know yourself. It doesn't matter what your degree or major is, these job questions will still need to be answered. People who appear undecided seldom get good offers.
To have a successful interview, you must learn as much as you can beforehand about the employer and the opportunities being offered. You may want to research the following topics to become more familiar with the company:
Expect questions that require thought on your part. Questions that start with how, what, or why such as:
And, of course, everyone's favorite opener, &ldqot;Tell me a little about yourself.&rdqot;
Remember to look closely at your résumé. Listen to your own answers. The employer has the right to question you about anything you have said or written. You must be able to defend, justify or explain anything you say or write, so be honest. You should practice your answers. Any preparation is good preparation!
Typically, at the end of the interview, the employer will ask you "Do you have any questions for me?" The interview is still very much in progress and the questions you ask will reflect a great deal on your professionalism. It is always a good idea to prepare specific questions in advance.
Immediately take the time to evaluate your own performance. Did you present yourself well? What would you do differently if you had another chance? What questions did you have difficulty answering? Write these down and prepare answers for when it comes up again.
Remember to write a short thank you note to the interviewer within 24 hours of the interview. Do so even if you have decided that you are no longer interested in the company. If any additional information is required of you, include it with the letter.