Interviewing is a piece of CAKE if you have:
Confidence, Appearance, Knowledge, and Enthusiasm!
Interviewing is often thought of as a necessary evil. You can feel nervous and vulnerable as you sit across the desk from the person who has the power to change the course of your career. Regardless of the outstanding resume and work history you have, the interview determines whether or not you get the job. The purpose of the interview for the interviewer is to assess your abilities, attitudes, and compatibility for the position. The purpose for you, the interviewee is to learn as much as possible about the company and the vacant position.
The interview process consists of three stages: preparation, the actual interview, and follow up.
During the preparation stage, evaluate yourself, your skills, and your abilities. Compile a list of accomplishments from previous positions. Develop a list of your strengths and your weaknesses. Both are important in the interview process. Prepare using stock questions. Practice answering them calmly and confidently. Another aspect of preparation is appearance. A professional appearance is essential for a strong first impression. Looking clean-cut and conservative is key. Lastly, you should put together an interview kit with necessary items for your interview. It should include two copies of your resume, a reference list complete with addresses and phone numbers, copies of reference letters, copies of college transcripts, professional membership cards, certification credential(s), and any other pertinent materials you feel will help you get the job.
Three general types of interviews are used to screen potential employees: structured, semistructured, and unstructured.
The STRUCTURED interview consists of basic questions that are asked of every applicant. The questions are planned in advance and responses are recorded during the interview. This format provides common data on all applicants and is generally used for lower level positions.
The SEMISTRUCTURED interview consists of some planned questions and some unplanned questions. This structure allows more flexibility to expand on applicant responses. Some questions are asked of all applicants. This can serve as a way of comparison.
The UNSTRUCTURED interview consists of broad or open-ended questions. This can help to assess the applicant's ability to communicate their skills, attitude, and personality. The more responsible the position, the more likely that an unstructured interview will be used.
The setting of an interview is also important. One person could be conducting the interview or a panel of three or four people each could be asking questions. Find out ahead of time what your setting will be so you are prepared. Also find out their position(s) in the company.
Stress questions are often used to see how you react under pressure and to plumb the depths of your confidence. These can be challenging, but they really show how you can handle stressful situations. These questions reveal the "real" you rather than a robot responding to six or seven stock questions.
Before your interview is complete, you should be asked if you have any questions. If this is not asked, tell the interviewer you have some questions. Come prepared with written questions. This not only shows the interviewer you were prepared, but it also shows you are serious about the position.
As soon as possible after the interview, make notes about the experience. Include your thoughts and feelings. Always send a thank you letter to the interviewer and reiterate your interest in the job. The timing of this letter depends on when the decision on the position will be made. You may have to send it the same day. Keep in contact with the company until the decision is made.