As a former practice manager of operations, I used to conduct interviews in search of shining candidates to join our team. Some individuals made a great impression, while others did not. Using this experience, I’ve compiled five keys to help you prepare for your next interview.
Read the full job description for which you’re applying and research information about the company. Using this information, write down at least three questions to ask during the interview. It impresses potential employers to see you’ve done your research and know about the place you want to work. It also shows that you aren’t applying simply because it’s the only job out there, but because you understand what the company’s about. It makes them feel important to you. If you can find their mission online and reference it during the interview, even better!
Take a shower, brush your hair, and dress professionally. When a candidate walks into an interview dressed provocatively or casually, it sends a certain message. If hired, you will represent the company. Show your potential employer that you will represent them well. For a little guidance, consider the chart below.
Please be mindful of the company’s image. If you want to be a receptionist at a conservative medical practice, covering your tattoos is appropriate. You may also want to avoid facial piercings. If you’re applying at a tattoo parlor, the protocol may be different.
If you have access to a printer, always bring a hardcopy of your resume to the interview. In some cases, employers will ask for it (even if they’ve already seen it). Also, bring a pen and something on which to write. In my opinion, when a candidate takes notes, it shows conscientiousness and attention to detail. Consider having your three questions from key number one in the notebook to reference when the time comes.
Before the interview, think about your qualities that will make you successful in the position. Also be prepared to share a weakness. I don’t mean a fake weakness (such as, “I work TOO hard” or “I’m TOO nice”), I mean a real weakness and your willingness to improve. Acknowledging a weakness shows employers that you’re coachable. Believe it or not, I considered it a red flag when a potential employee thought they were already perfect. It can be an indicator that you won’t receive feedback well if something needs corrected. Be prepared to share at least one weakness if the question arises. Don’t offer more than one unless asked to do so.
It might be tempting to stretch the truth and say what you think employers want to hear. The thing to remember is that employers are looking for someone who’s a good fit with their company. If you’re not a good fit for them, chances are they’re not a good fit for you either. Although pretending to be someone you’re not might get you the job, the company will eventually discover that who they hired is not the same person they interviewed. You may also find yourself missing the job satisfaction you wanted to find.
When preparing for your next interview, remember everything you have to offer. Present the best version of yourself, and keep in mind that not every job will be a good fit. Don’t lose heart. Keep up the search! The right job is out there, and it could be right around the corner.