The Art of First Impressions: How to Interview Well

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Today’s job market is hyper competitive.  At IT Weapons, we love hiring young people right out of school who are eager to learn, career-hungry and have plenty of enthusiasm.  We hire for character and attitude and we train for the skills.  Whether you’ve got an interview with a small business owner or the HR folks at a large enterprise, there’s a small window of opportunity to make a great impression. Here are some tips and strategies to ensure you showcase your best self in an interview.

Do Your Homework

Google is your friend.  Research the company, the people, and the position.  Anything you could possibly need can be found using Google. Competitors, reputation, the products and solutions they sell. The more information you gather about your potential employer, the better.  Scour their social networks and build yourself a picture of who they are. Prepare some questions you can ask at the interview about the company.  Will you have you’re a-game ready when they ask you the inevitable question: “what do you know about our company?”  Always remember to be honest and show your enthusiasm about what you’ve learned.

Know Thyself

Socrates said it best in ancient Greece; real wisdom comes from understanding your limitations as well as your strengths.  You want to be able to answer questions about your past truthfully and be able to reflect on your achievements as well as previous mistakes.  A good employer wants you to be self aware.  Think about your past and think about what you have achieved; how you went about achieving goals and the skills you developed along the way.  Telling stories about yourself is a great way to build rapport (about your professional development, not that trip to Cancun).  Brief stories about accomplishments can illustrate how you provided value to past employers.  Be sincere.

Bring Your Own Questions

This one is a no-brainer.  If you are as awesome as you should be, you are interviewing them too! If you aren’t interested in learning more about their company, why would they hire you?  Ask about their benefits, ask what hours and obligations are like.  Most importantly, ask for stories about the culture of the company.

Finally, the next steps

You have done the research, you aced the interview and you made a great first impression … now what? If you like what you’re hearing, be direct and ask them about the next steps in the hiring process.  You want to know where you stand don’t you? If you have met with more than one person, perhaps ask for their business cards and send them a thank you email that same day. Remember, each and every interaction you have with a potential new employer leaves an impression and paints a bigger and better picture of you.

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