Getting it out There
Face to Face Interviews

After submitting a successful resume and cover letter, the final step in a job search process is the face to face interview.

An interview is a two way street. An employer wants to know if the person she is interviewing is a good fit for her company, and a job seeker wants to know if the company is a good fit for his career goals.

Getting ready for this exchange of information means preparing for any questions you may be asked, as well as preparing a list of questions for the employer.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make in face-to-face interviews is not doing any company research.

Research suggests turning to knowledgeable people working in the industry who can provide some insight, the organizations' Web site (if it has one), the public affairs or communications department of the organization, your local Chamber of Commerce, trade publications about that industry, or media stories about the industry or the organization.

There are three critical questions every job seeker should think about.

  • Why do I want this position?
  • What do I have to offer?
  • What else do I need to know?
If a question has you stumped, ask for a moment to think about your answer, or time to come back to it later in the interview.

With so much to think about during an interview, people can neglect their non-verbal presentations.

Many interviews are now conducted by panels, which can be intimidating for the person being interviewed.  

The same rules of etiquette apply during panel interviews as during one on one interviews. Shake hands with the employer at the beginning and the end of an interview, and follow up the interview with a thank you note.

If you haven't heard back from an employer in two to three weeks, don't be afraid to place a follow-up call to the interviewer. If the position hasn't been filled, this is an opportunity to re-state your interest. If you did not get the position, this phone call can be an opportunity to help with your skills in future interviews, by asking the interviewer for suggestions on ways you can improve.