The goal of writing a resume is to ultimately get your foot in an employer’s door and have an Interview. Employers interview candidates to find a good fit for their business. In addition, an interview is your opportunity to learn more about an employer and the available job(s).
There are two main types of interviews: job interviews and informational interviews. Although the tips and strategies for each type are unique, preparation is key to both. A job interview is when you meet with an employer about a specific job that they are hiring for and your goal is to get hired. An informational interview is a meeting between you and a professional. The purpose is to help define your career options or research a company where you want to work. It is NOT a job interview thus you should not expect anyone to make you an offer, HOWEVER, you can make valuable contacts via an informational interview.
BEFORE you go for an interview of any kind, you should learn as much about the company and any available positions prior to your interview at the company.
How do you learn about a specific company? Be resourceful! Included below are places that you can look to find out more about a particular company:
- Job description
- Employer brochures
- Company website or Facebook page
- Annual business reports
- Trade periodicals
- Manufacturers’ guides
- Union representatives
- Local and state employment service offices
- Chambers of Commerce
- Professional organizations
- Current employees
Gathering facts about a company helps you answer potential interview questions. It also gives you important information on how to match your skills to the company or position. Targeting your skills to employer needs will show how serious you are about the position or company.
An interview also provides YOU with an opportunity to ask questions as well. Prepare plenty of questions to keep the conversation moving. Include questions about the occupation or business, but ask about other things too, such as..…Do they enjoy their work? How do they spend their day? What opportunities do they see in the company?
Common Interview Questions
Questions Employers Ask:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in working for this company?
- Tell me about your education.
- Why have you chosen this particular field?
- Describe your best/worst boss.
- In a job, what interests you most/least?
- What is your major weakness?
- Give an example of how you solved a problem in the past.
- What are your strengths?
- How do others describe you?
- What do you consider the most important idea you recently contributed or most noteworthy accomplishment?
- Where do you see yourself in three years?
- How do you think you will fit into this operation?
- If you were hired, what ideas/talents could you contribute to the position or our company?
- Give an example where you showed leadership and initiative.
- Give an example of when you were able to contribute to a team project.
- Do you have any questions for me?
Questions to Ask the Employer
- What are the responsibilities and accountabilities of this position?
- How well is the position defined? Can its duties be expanded?
- Please describe an average day on this job.
- What is the history of the position? Why is it vacant?
- What aspects of this job would you like to see performed better?
- What are the key challenges or problems of this position?
- Where can I go from here, assuming that I meet/exceed the job responsibilities?
- How would you describe the ideal candidate?
- What are the employer’s short- and long-range objectives?
- Where does the company excel? What are its limitations?
- When and how will I be evaluated? What are the performance standards?
- With whom would I be working? Who would be my supervisor? Who would I supervise?
- When will you make the hiring decision? May I call you for the decision? When is a good time?
Be sure to bring the following with you the day you interview:
- Bring any notes on your research of the position and company.
- Have key questions prepared to ask that express your interest in the position.
- Resume, application, and personal data sheet (Use these as references during your interview or to fill out any required paperwork.)
- Portfolio and work samples, if applicable. (Bring a few samples that demonstrate your best work and abilities.)
- Letters of recommendation and reference list
- Notebook and pen
- Social security card, driver’s license (or state picture identification)
- Extra money (Be prepared for unexpected expenses, like gas, transportation, or parking).
- Confidence and a smile