BOOM! You just earned your adult high school diploma (or you're counting down the days until you do). You've been busy updating your resume, searching job listings, and filling out more applications then you knew existed. Then, as you're logging out of Indeed for what feels like the millionth time, your phone beeps with an email from a would-be employer wanting to schedule an interview. It’s normal to feel both excited and stressed. Here are some tips to help you calm the butterflies and nail the interview.
4 Tips for Before the Interview
1. Research the business. Head to the “About Us” page and familiarize yourself with the company’s history, culture, and goals. Review the team member page so you recognize names and titles. Do a general Google search to see what they’ve been in the news for recently.
2. Write down 5 questions you can ask your interviewer. At the end of the interview you’ll be asked, “Do you have any questions?” “No,” is not the right answer. Be prepared.
3. Practice answering sample interview questions. Consider what makes you qualified so you'll know what to say. Match each of the job requirements to your related skill set or experience. Think about what you learned while earning your adult high school diploma online--time-management, juggling different responsibilities, etc.
4. Dress appropriately. Business casual attire is usually adequate but it’s always better to over dress then under dress. Wear a neat hairstyle and go light on the cologne or perfume.
5 Tips for During the Interview
1. Arrive on time. This means 15 minutes before the interview. Greet your interviewer with a firm (but not knuckle-crushing) handshake. Make eye contact. Remember his or her name and use it a time or two during the interview. Not only does this make a good impression, it helps you remember the person's name when you follow up.
2. Resist the urge to check your phone. This includes while you’re sitting in the waiting room. And it goes without saying your phone should be on silent.
3. Give specific examples of skills you've demonstrated. For instance, instead of saying, "I'm highly-adaptable," talk about your experience handling challenging customers or the times you had to unexpectedly cover for a co-worker.
4. Ask about next steps. It shows you’re interested in the job when you ask about next steps and when you can expect to hear back.
3 Tips for After the Interview
1. Follow-up. Send an email immediately (same day) following the interview to everyone you met (separate emails for each person), and a handwritten thank you note to your main interviewer.
2. Evaluate. As soon as you can after your interview, write down what you did well and areas where you can improve.
3. Ask for feedback. If you don’t get the job, send an email stating you’d welcome any feedback on what may have held you back. Not every employer is willing to do this but for those that are, this can end up being some of the most valuable advice you’ll receive.
Most people don't look forward to the interview process. But with a little preparation and a positive attitude, it won't be long before your phone beeps again with a message congratulating you on being hired.