Where does the interview fit in the job search process? It is apparent from employer surveys that the interview is the single most important measure in determining whether or not to offer employment to a candidate. The resume and cover letter may get your foot in the door, but it is the interview that determines whether or not you will find the employment you seek. The following information is meant to assist you in preparation for the interview.

Be Prepared

1. Focus on your goals; know what you want from this position and this company.

2. Identify your main strengths; why you would be good at this job.

3. Assess all pertinent information concerning your other strengths, skills, abilities, interests, and weaknesses.

4. Research the job and the organization; arrange informational interviews with others in the field and pick up company brochures/informational packets. These can be found on the web, in the company office, and the local Chamber of Commerce.

5. Anticipate the questions an employer will ask.

Remember that the interview is being done by individuals of varying expertise. Some are novices and others are extremely sophisticated in the art of the interview. To help determine where in the spectrum your interviewer falls, it is good practice to pay attention to that individual’s body language.

  • Are they nervous?
  • Do they look at you directly and make eye contact while they talk, or do they look away, seem jittery, or impatient to finish with the interview?
  • Are the silent parts of the interview orchestrated by the interviewer? li>Does the interviewer seem contemplative or does the interviewer seem to have run out of things to ask?

These are real things to consider and to be aware of in the interview process. Your sensitivity and thoughtful interaction can make the difference in whether or not you get hired.

Communication in the interview situation is the process of dialogue between people. It requires listening as well as presenting information. The interview is the place where each party gets its opportunity to look, listen, and learn about the other. If the interview is approached with a grounded, informed and sensitive attitude the chances are that it will be, at the very least, a learning experience. Some key information to request includes the number of interviews given, time-line for hiring, and when to expect to hear from the prospective employer. Follow-up in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time.

Follow Up

1. Write a professional thank-you letter, stressing how interested you are in the position for which you just interviewed. Contact the company if you do not hear from them by the agreed upon time. This demonstrates your ability to follow through and shows professional courtesy.

2. Realize that the job market is competitive. You can choose to analyze each interview as a learning experience. Each interview therefore is a chance for you to further polish your interviewing skills. This feedback can be extremely valuable in learning how you come across in an interview.

3. Keep a log. Addresses, phone numbers, and dates are the most consistently used information. Make sure you note who refers you to whom and any further instructions given by the interviewer.

4. Searching for employment is difficult at best. Remember that it is possible to do everything right and still not get the job. Do your best and then let go of the past. Your worth as a person does not depend on landing any particular job. Use a support system of family and friends to help you keep up your positive attitude.