5 Tips for Interviewing

June 14, 2019

The interview is a decisive moment in the job search process. Since interviews happen in real time, there is no chance to “review and edit” as you do when preparing the job application. Here are some tips to help you ace your next interview:

Be Prepared

During the interview, you need to be able to clearly articulate who you are as a professional and what you can bring to that role. To achieve this, it’s essential that before starting the job application process, you identify your career goals, your professional interests, values, and skills and develop a clear narrative to depict yourself as a professional. Additionally, you need to thoroughly research the company/institution/department so that you can align your answers with what they are looking for in a candidate. Being prepared also means practicing how to answer common interview questions.

Act Calm, Confident and Professionally

Your preparation for the interview will help you stay as calm as possible in this stressful situation. Trust yourself and be confident in your skills and experiences, after all, they selected you for an interview. However, don’t be overconfident as this can be perceived as unwillingness to learn and grow.

Behave professionally, always be on time, polite, and respectful regardless of how informal the interaction is. During the interview be present, listen carefully and answer honestly instead of what you think they want to hear, as you don’t want to end up in a job that is not a good fit for you.

Dress Appropriately

First impressions are key. Regardless of the job sector or position you are interviewing for, you should look professional and well-polished for the interview. Although nowadays different job sectors might have different dress codes, when in doubt, it’s better to be too dressed up than too casual. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure it’s something comfortable.

Ask Questions

Almost every interview ends with the question: “Do you have questions for us?” Asking questions is very important because it allows you to demonstrate your interest in the job and gives you the opportunity to learn if this position would be a good fit for you. To avoid blanking, have at least 5 to 10 questions prepared. Some of your questions might have been answered during the interview conversations so you would want to have some backups. You can always not use them if you come up with more important questions during the interview.

Send Thank-You Emails

The interview does not end once you leave. You must send thank you emails to each person who was part of the interview. This seemly small detail can be crucial for getting a job offer, as it reinforces your interest in the position. Simply thank each interviewer for their time and customize each email by adding something that you discussed with the interviewer specifically. It is important to send these emails within 1-2 days from the interview.

Apply for jobs today and put these interview tips into practice!
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Author: Natalia Martin, Ph.D.

Natalia Martin, Ph.D.
Dr. Natalia Martin is a trained microbiologist turned project manager for the American Chemical Society in the Graduate Students & Postdoctoral Scholars Office.