Once you've gotten an invitation to interview, you've already impressed the potential employer — on paper.
To present yourself well in the interview and to make a good impression, you should:
You probably spent a lot of time working with the job description when you put together your cover letter and resume.
Now that you've gotten an interview, you'll want to review it — pay close attention to the qualifications and job duties — these are essentially lists of the employer's needs.
For each qualification or duty, identify a skill that the employer is asking for.
For example, if the job duty is to "recruit volunteers," related skills might include:
Your task, as the job candidate, is to prepare anecdotes about a specific time that you used these skills. You can use a format recommended by Pam Rechel at Brave Heart Consulting: name the skill, identify a specific time you used it, and explain how the skill will be useful in the new job.
TIP: When you find a job you'd like to apply for, make sure you print a copy of the position description if it's online — after the application deadline it may vanish off the job board.
What is their mission? How does it distinguish itself from others working on similar issues or with similar clientele? What is the geographic scope of the organization? How is it funded? What buzz words do you notice when you read the organization's website?
For example, the anecdotes that illustrate your most salient skills. It's fine to bring in notes to the interview with you.
Just like a limp handshake, a one-sided interview is no fun! The hiring team wants to hear your questions and see that you're actively engaged in learning more about the organization and position.
Don't leave bag-packing to the last minute. Prepare your Interview Tool Bag the night before the big day:
...So you and the hiring team can both assess your mutual compatibility.
Pay attention to the signals that your body language and eye contact send to the hiring team. It's okay to be a little nervous (and even to show it — it means you care!). But try to relax and be yourself.
Let your personality shine so that the hiring team glimpses who you truly are. If you have a sense of humor, use it to chuckle (appropriately, of course) or express an idea occasionally.
Your hiring manager may ask questions that seem trivial — for example about a foreign country mentioned on your resume, or about pets. In fact they may be attempting to get to know you better on a personal level, to find out whether you will be someone they'd like to see in the office everyday.