By PAULA MICHELLE

Most people think about the interview process and experience automatic anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Relax. The interview process is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. It is an opportunity to share your awesomeness.

Employers are interested in your knowledge, skills and abilities as it relates to a specific role, but remember, you are in the driver’s seat! You are a bad mamma jamma and you have to let it show. Dress for success! Communicate for success! And by all means, leave a lasting impression. Here’s how!

Do the work….Research, research, research! Go online and research the company. It’s not necessary to memorize everything you read, however, it is quite impressive if you remember a few key things such as:

  • When, where and why was the company started?
  • Who started the company?
  • What kind of impact has the company made since its existence? Share how the company either has or will make an impact in your region.
  • What is the company’s mission statement? Hint – No need to memorize it. Share the key areas.
  • What are the company values?

Upon arrival for the interview, have a small token in hand for whomever is manning the front office/telephone/reception area. The operative word is ‘small.’ There are countless inexpensive ways to show your appreciation for the opportunity to interview without going overboard or being inappropriate. I suggest a few cupcakes. My favorite is the Cupcake Collection. Another favorite of mine is a small bouquet of fresh flowers from the local grocer.

Offer a gentle, yet firm handshake while making eye contact. Some things never go out of style. Whomever comes to meet you and escort you to the interview space, offer a handshake. Do not squeeze too hard. Gentle, yet firm. If by chance, this person is not the same person that will interview you, it’s okay. You’ll offer another handshake. I promise, it’s impressive, no matter what, but you must make eye contact and smile. Trust me, it’s a good thing.

Create a list of questions. You should always have questions. After your research, there will be things you want to know more about. I suggest a list of 5-10 questions and this is why….during the interview process, most of your questions may be answered. I would have three questions that I absolutely want to know the answers to. So if they are answered, you have others to ‘go to.’

After the interview, send a thank you note. Technology is a great way to accomplish this quickly. Within the hour, send the interviewer a professional note of thanks for the opportunity, his/her time and the experience. If I were you, I would do two more things. One, make sure, during the interview, you take note of something s/he shares that is appropriate enough to mention during your follow-up. For example, the interviewer may mention that s/he is from another city or state. Google their city/state to find a fun fact and share it. I will admit, this takes a little thought, but I’ve always gotten a positive response from it. Secondly, you absolutely must send a handwritten note of thanks. Period.

We’ve all heard, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” Rather than reinvent the wheel, I suggest you do what works. Remember we’re all people. It’s important to be yourself. If you pretend on the front end, you’ll have to spend your entire life pretending. Just be the best you!

As a bonus, go to https://www.inc.com and watch The 1 Question That Will Show If Someone is Right for Your Company. It takes less than 2 minutes. Enjoy!

 

 

Paula Michelle is “The Bounce Back Coach!” As a seasoned human resources professional, Paula Michelle has spent over 20+ years helping people identify career, educational, personal and life goals. As a result of coaching with Paula Michelle, women from all walks of life gain the confidence and tools they need to stand in their genius. They experience transformation in their lives as they no longer settle for less than they can achieve. She loves empowering others to win!!!