5 Things to Improve On In An Interview
When you leave a job interview, you come away thinking there was more you could have said or a more articulate way to express your work history, and questions you could have asked to demonstrate you really are interested in the company. However, you can’t go back and change your answers – what you can do is list what you perceive were your deficiencies and improve on them during your next interview.
Job seekers often think they know the ropes just because they’re seasoned job seekers; however, no two interviews are alike. Some interviews are brief phone discussions with recruiters just to express your continued interest in the job; others are lengthy, panel interviews where your answers require high marks from a number of different personalities. No matter how many interviews you’ve participated in, always spend time to prepare for each one separately. Spending time researching the company will serve you well in your conversations with interviewers. Just because you’re interviewing for the same job with different companies, don’t expect your interviews to be identical or even similar. Preparation is fundamental to successfully moving from applicant stage to becoming a finalist candidate.
Better to be slightly overdressed than under-dressed for a job interview. And, by overdressed that doesn’t mean in cocktail or evening attire. When you’re preparing for an interview with a company that you realize has a super-casual dress code and you’re struggling with your wardrobe choices, a clever way to determine what’s appropriate is to simply ask the recruiter. For example, you could ask, “Will I need to bring another pair of shoes for touring the production floor of the facility?” From that question, the interviewer might also tell you about the expected interview attire. If you don’t get information from the interviewer, go with a suit or a set of matching, tailored coordinates.
Recruiters have a common pet peeve that job seekers don’t pick up on – interviewees’ questions. Recruiters and hiring managers expect you to ask questions about the job because it shows you’re genuinely interested in the job duties, the company and how you fit in. Before you go to your next interview, draft a list of questions based on your research of the company and several reviews of the job posting. Make a copy of the job posting and highlight areas you want the interviewer to clarify. For example, ask “I note that I’d be responsible for arranging the logistics of frequent board meetings. How often is frequent – monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or once yearly?”
Interviewees who don’t maintain eye contact or who fidget and struggle with their answers are frustrating for interviewers because these usually are signs that the interviewee didn’t take time to prepare for the interview. Spend time rehearsing your responses to dozens of typical interview questions so you come across in a more confident and relaxed manner. If your nervousness isn’t attributed to lack of preparation, be candid with the interviewer and explain that you’re slightly nervous about talking about yourself, but that you will warm up. Recognize that interviewers are human, too, and subject to the same type of emotion you might be feeling at the beginning of your interview.
Sometimes it’s the candidate who follows up with a sincere thank-you who becomes one of the top two or three finalists for a position. Exhibiting the courtesy of sending a thank-you note to interviewers for their time and reiterating your interest in the job can go a long way, and it’s definitely one of the five things you can improve on concerning your job search. Don’t put off sending a follow-up note: The sooner you dispatch it, the greater impact it has.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.