Savvy interviewees have laid the foundation for a successful interview before ever setting foot in their future employer's office. Listed below are several strategies that will help you navigate the interview process successfully and land the job that's right for you.
Preparing for an interview takes time. The less familiar you are with a particular job market or prospective employer, the more time you should allow yourself to prepare.
Know what you want.
Identify the job characteristics and benefits that are most important to you (e.g., specific population or service, geographic location, healthcare or financial benefits, job autonomy, supervision) and what features are preferable, but not essential.
Know the market.
What changes are occurring, what new skills are important to have and what opportunities and challenges are likely to emerge in the near future?
Understand the needs of the employer.
Browse the organization's website to familiarize yourself with its mission, core values and leaders. Skim any relevant publications, including the organization's annual report and articles or books by key staff members. Additionally, talk to any colleagues who are familiar with the organization to get an insider's view of the company's culture and priorities.
Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Think about the personal characteristics that help make you successful, as well as the professional skills you bring to the table. Be able to describe how these skills and attributes relate to the job you are interested in.
Be prepared to discuss your weaknesses.
Avoid using the typical, "I'm a perfectionist" response. Choose a relatively benign area in need of development, acknowledge your awareness of the weakness and be able to describe what you are doing to actively address the shortcoming.
Tune up your CV.
Include the most updated information and tailor it to the position you are seeking. Consider which clinical or research experiences are most relevant to the job and elaborate on them. If the position has a supervisory or administrative component, take care to include professional activities that helped you grow your skills in these areas.
Prepare several pertinent questions.
Be ready to ask questions about both the position and the organization during the interview. Show that you've done your homework by integrating information you have read about the organizational culture, the services offered, and the current job opening into your questions.
Based upon your understanding of the culture and needs of the employer, anticipate the kinds of questions they may ask you. Prepare answers to these questions, but don't worry about memorizing them. It will be easier to build rapport with the interviewer if you allow yourself to speak naturally during the real interview. Finally, grab a friend or colleague and do a mock interview.
Telephone the administrative assistant or office manager a few days before the interview to confirm the appointment time and ask if there are any materials the interviewer wants you to bring to the interview.
Have a tested travel plan.
Take the time to map out directions to the interview site and do a test run to determine your travel time and parking location before the interview day. On the day of the interview, remember your directions and your contact person's name, address and phone number.
Whether it's a morning workout or a good breakfast, do whatever will set you at ease and put you in a positive frame of mind going into the interview. Arriving early and giving yourself enough time for a restroom break will also help to put you at ease.