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Interviews That Work

Interviewing can bring out the best and worse out of anyone. So it’s natural to feel nervous or apprehensive about an upcoming interview. The better prepared you are, the easier it’ll be to overcome those feelings of nervousness. Before an interview, make sure you study up on the company, position you’re applying for or any specific requirements that may be asked of you.

The more preparation you put into your appearance, questions for the interviewer and understanding your anticipated position, the better impression you’ll make. Take a look at some of the topics below to prepare for your next interview.

Business Dress— Appearance is everything! It’s better to err on the side of conservative if you’re not quite sure of what a particular company’s dress code is. You can never go wrong with a suit, or dress shirt and dress pants/skirt if you don’t have a suit. Ladies, try not to wear really flashy jewelry, make-up or shoes. And, keep the perfume and cologne to a minimum, if any at all. You don’t want to have anything distracting your interviewer from what you’re saying.

Bring Copies of Your Resume— Although the person you’re interviewing with probably already has a copy of your resume, it’s a good rule of thumb to bring extra copies with you. There may be times where the electronic file you sent has been corrupted or another person has been invited to sit in on your interview. It’s nice to be prepared with the extra copies when the unexpected happens.

Samples of Most Recent Work— While most employers can gain insight from your experience by reading your resume, many would like to see what you’ve actually accomplished. It’s a good idea to present your best samples a portfolio to be able to showcase your work if the opportunity presents itself. Bring no more than three to five different pieces to display and try to choose items that are pertinent to your daily tasks for the position you are interviewing for. Do not take out your samples unless the topic arises or you are asked to.

Questions for The Interviewer— After you’ve done all the answering, you’ll probably be given the opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer. This is the chance for you to show that you’ve done your research and know a little bit about the company. Refrain from asking about salary on the first or second interviews (let’s leave those questions for HR). Take some time before your interview to scour the company’s website and find out more information about who they are and what they do. Find out about some important initiatives and ask questions about those. Ask about any partnerships or corporate activities you’d like to learn more about. This will be an indication that you’re interested in knowing the behind the scenes information and may be an involved employee if hired.

Handwritten Thank You Note(s)— Hopefully you’ve left a really lasting impression on your interviewer and they have plans on calling you back. Another way to ensure you stick out during the evaluation process for callbacks is to send a thank you note to your interviewers. Recapturing special moments or an interesting fact in your note will keep it from sounding generic. Be sure to get the correct spelling of the interviewers’ names and address each note to that specific individual. Use thank you cards that are professional and clean. Avoid choosing cards with too many distracting images or patterns and try to write as neatly as possible. You may opt to use a printer or even send an email instead, but there’s something to be said about a handwritten note.