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Interviewing A to Z

Kristine Penning,


The job interview contains a lot of important elements to remember in order to be successful. Here are some that you’ll want to keep in mind – from A to Z!

A: Attitude – Show up with a humble, open, and positive attitude and carry it through the interview. No one will want to hire someone who speaks negatively or appears uninterested.

B: Body language –Notice your body language. Are you tense and stiff, slouchy and uncaring, or calm and professional? Hopefully your body language is showing that you are the latter. Check out these tips for being mindful of your body language.

Confidence–Make sure you remain confident throughout the interview. Lean in slightly while sitting up straight, speak in a calm and evenly paced manner, and remain positive.

D: Dress Professionally –Pick your outfit out beforehand and remember to iron it. A matching jacket and slacks with a tie and dress shoes for men, and a blouse, blazer, and a skirt or dress pants with closed-toe shoes for women, are fail-safe options.

E: Eye contact –Make eye contact throughout the interview, especially when the interviewer is speaking. If there is more than one interviewer, be sure to make eye contact with each person.

F: Folder – The only thing you need to worry about bringing to the interview is a folder or portfolio with copies of your resume, copies of your references, and some samples of work if applicable.

G: Greetings –Greet the receptionist or whoever is waiting at the door with a smile and kindness, the same way you will greet your interviewer.

H: Handshake –While handshakes are not appropriate in the current COVID-19 climate, they are usually a staple of the interview. You will likely be greeted by your interviewer(s) with a handshake and leave with one. Give a confident, moderately firm handshake and make eye contact.

I: Impression –Set yourself up for making a good first impression. Check out this past newsletter article for key components to a great first impression.

Just breathe – If you feel nervous, take a few deep cleansing breaths before the interview.

K: Know your strengths –Be sure you know what to play up and highlight in the interview when asked what your strengths are or what you excel at—both technical skills and soft skills (people skills). Don’t be afraid to repeat them at the close of the interview to reiterate why you are the best candidate for the job.

L: Learn –Part of the interview is about what you can learn about the organization, management, and role you might get. You have the opportunity to get insight into company culture, management style, office climate, and job duties and responsibilities. Be sure to plan questions to ask beforehand.

M: Map it –Make sure that you map your route to the interview beforehand so you know how long it will take you to arrive and you can plan to arrive early. Have the address handy to punch into your vehicle’s GPS.

N: Nerves –Everyone gets nervous for their interview. Here are some tips to save the interview if your nerves are getting the best of you.

On Time –And by on time, we mean early. Arrive to the interview ten to fifteen minutes before it starts to make a punctual impression.

P: Phone –In many instances, a phone interview takes place before the in-person interview. Treat the phone interview seriously as you would a physical interview. Practice answers and questions, and remember to use inflection to express enthusiasm and confidence. Check out these tips to ace the phone interview.

Questions –Yes, you’ll be asked many questions, many that will require detailed answers, but you’ll also want to be sure that you come with questions of your own for your interviewer. Think about this beforehand so you come with questions that will impress.

R: Research & rehearse –As long as you research the company and practice answers to common interview questions before the interview, you’ll set yourself up for success. Research everything you can find about the company you are interviewing for, and create polished, professional answers as well as questions you can ask your interviewer.

S: Smile – remember to smile throughout the interview to show your interviewer you are positive, engaged, and excited about this career opportunity.

T: Thank You - After the interview, tell your interviewer(s) thank you and remember to follow up right away with a thank you note (handwritten is very memorable, but an email is okay too). Follow these tips for crafting the perfect thank you note.

Use proper grammar and professional language – Don’t talk how you would text. Avoid using slang words (like “y’all” and abbreviations like “IMO”) and be sure you use proper grammar when interviewing.

V: Video –Video interviews are becoming increasingly common, especially in this time of COVID-19. Check out this article for tips to prepare for a successful video interview.

Weakness into Strength - You’re bound to be asked the questions, “What is your greatest strength?” and “What is your biggest weakness?” These can be tricky questions to answer. Here are some tips to turn your weakness into a strength.

(e)Xamples & Experiences –When you’re asked behavioral-based interview questions, be sure to give specific examples and share detailed experiences in your answers.

Y: You – After the interview, remember to take a few moments for yourself. Grab a treat from the drive-through and relax a little before heading home to write your thank you note.

Z: Zeal – End the interview by reiterating that you are very interested and passionate about the opportunity.