Once you have seen a position that interests you and you think you are qualified for, the next step is to update your resume and prepare your application. The advertisement will list both essential and preferred hiring criteria - the first would be considered a must have and the second a nice to have. Send in a complete application before the closing date and wait to be contacted for an interview.
Before the Interview
- Preparation: The best thing you can do in advance of your interview is prepare! Research who you are interviewing with, research their website and read any background information that is available. Go over your strengths, work experience, qualifications, interest in the job etc and be able to describe them concisely and accurately in an interview. Make sure your resume is up to date and looks clean, presentable and has no errors. When called for the interview, ask how many people will be attending. This will help you prepare mentally and visualize the setup.
- Practice: this is critical!! Take about 5-10 questions that you think you might be asked and practice answering them with a friend, in front of a mirror or by yourself. By reviewing possible answers, you will feel more relaxed and confident in the interview and will then be able to cover all key points in your responses.
Dress appropriately for the interview and arrive about 10 minutes early. It doesn't hurt to bring extra copies of your resume, just in case there is someone else at the interview that you didn't expect.
During the Interview
Remember that first impressions count! Be confident, yet friendly as you enter the room, shake hands firmly with the interviewer and maintain eye contact. Ensure that you have specific examples for any Behavioural type of question that they may ask you. Your answers should include the situation, the action you took and the result. The interview should not be dominated by either party, but in the most ideal terms, should be more of a conversation. Also, prepare a list of questions that you have for the Committee and there should be time at the end of the interview for you to ask them.
After the Interview
Follow-up: this is a step that is often forgotten but is still very important. Send a thank you note or email, within a few days of your interview. If you don't get hired for that particular job, they may keep you in mind for future vacancies.