You were invited for a job interview – that is a great news! You probably sent many e-mails with your Resumé attached in the past weeks and it finally paid off. However, the moment the initial excitement wears off you probably will begin to feel a little (or very) nervous. A little bit of restlessness before a job interview is quite normal and can be a sign that this moment is really important to you. But your nervousness should not be a cause of insecurity and shyness when you’re facing your potential US employer for the first time.
A proper preparation for the job interview can significantly reduce your stress and give you the confidence you need to shine. And if you have no idea what to actually do, here are some useful tips:
Research your employer
This point is a very important one because nobody likes it when a candidate does not care enough to visit a company web page in the US. It is expected that you do your research. The interviewing person probably won’t actually create a detailed quiz about the company history but will definitely know from your answers to other questions whether you did at least some minimal reading.
Your sources might vary from company to company but you absolutely should visit their web, maybe try to find something about their prior achievements on the internet or even contact someone who works for the company (that also could help you to peep into the company culture a little).
Practice answering some questions
Read some articles on common questions that usually come up during a job interview and try to imagine which of those could be important for your potential employer in America. Prepare your answers (you can also write them down) and memorize them briefly – you definitely should not recite them like a robot but knowing a little bit what you are going to say cannot hurt. Then, try to practice with a friend or a family member – without your notes of course.
Practice speaking about yourself
This one is directly connected to the previous point. If you are not used to speaking off the cuff you will have to practice your verbal skills a little. Because in the United States, the interviewing person can ask a very broad question and will require at least a few sentences from you without having to ask about every little thing separately. That doesn’t sound like a complicated task but when the nerves hit, it could be very tricky and you don’t want that awkward silence to fill the room.
Prepare your own questions about the job
Another speaking point – at the end of a job interview there is usually some space for your own questions about the job. We do not recommend to be silent or pass on this opportunity.
Your employer in the US wants to see that you care about the potential job and that you want to know about the reality of working there. Some useful questions can be: exact location (New York, Alaska, Florida) a day in your new workplace, a description of your team and possible cooperation with other departments, an evaluation systems and a feedback, tips for a success on this position etc.
Arrive on time
To arrive late to a job interview is a grave mistake and could easily erase everything you do well after that. It tends to point to your recklessness, bad manners and indifference (even if none of these fit to your characteristics). Plan the day of your interview as thoroughly as possible – prepare your clothes the night before, fill the fuel tank of your car or search for your bus or train timetable in advance, prepare your bag, copies of your Resume (it you need to take them with you) etc. Aim for being there 10 – 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled because it may take some time to find the right office, take your coat off and settle down a little bit.
First impression and good manners
Again, this recommendation is connected to the previous one - arriving on time is actually a part of this. You don’t have to (and maybe you even shouldn’t) pretend anything but you should give the impression of a pleasant future co-worker. Dress according to the company dress code and if there isn’t one (or you don’t know about it), then wear clean and formal, but comfortable clothes. Study some basics of etiquette and stick to them even when other people don’t. Smile and pay attention to what anybody has to say but act confident and calm. Never interrupt the interviewing person.
Keep the positive attitude, try to express your hopefulness and show your understanding manner. Never complain about your life, your previous experience or your previous bosses or colleagues. Again, you don’t have to be overly sweet and naive but you should maintain decorum and act like you are somebody who everyone wants to work with. Complaining or even slander are completely out of line.
You do not have to describe yourself in every little detail but when you say something, it better be true and honest. Do not lie about your experience, skills or your opinions. Be careful with your words but remember that every lie will be exposed sooner or later and cannot help you in a long-term. If you make things up, the time will come when you will be put on the spot and it’s going to be embarrassing and career-destroying.
These are our tips for a successful job interview but there can be found many more. Study, prepare and hope for the best. And remember that an unsuccessful job interview can teach you many useful lessons so don’t view it as a failure but only as an experience for you to benefit from.