Whether you are an experienced clinical research professional or applying for your first job, it is important to convey a competent and confident self in an interview. Here are some tips to help ensure success in an interview.
Always dress professionally for an interview
First impression is everything and how you present yourself to an interviewer is how they will perceive you would present yourself to a vendor, customer, government authority or member of the management team. Even if you know their environment is casual, always dress professional for an interview.
Always show enthusiasm during the interview
Showing enthusiasm and energy in an interview is very important. The ability for someone to get the job is just as important as their ability to do the job. Your enthusiasm, excitement and passion about the position and company will stick with the interviewer and it could be the difference between being chosen over another candidate who didn't express the same amount of enthusiasm.
Do your homework prior to the interview
Prior to the interview, research the company's website, read any recent newspaper or industry articles on the company. Knowing little about the company may suggest to the interviewer that you didn't bother to take the time to learn about them and thus must not be very interested in the opportunity.
Express interest by asking questions
Always prepare a list of questions to ask during the interview. This will show the interviewer that you not only took the time to prepare, it also shows that you have a true interest in the opportunity and company and want to evaluate how you may fit into the environment.
How to handle a group or panel interview
In a group or panel interview setting, make sure you engage everyone! Maintain eye contact with all individuals participating in the interview, don't just look at one person when answering a question. Also if asked the same question by more than one person, keep your answers consistent.
Give work related examples of experience
When answering a question, give direct work-related examples on how you were able to perform a specific task, achieve a specific goal or solve a specific problem. This is very important because it lets the interviewer know your thought process, analytical skills, technical capabilities from start to finish. This helps them to envision how you would fit into their department and meet their needs.
Sell yourself and highlight your strengths
Prior to an interview it is helpful to write down your strengths so when asked during the interview about your strengths, you can give a confident answer. You want to convey to the interviewer that you know what value you can bring to this organization. Don't be afraid to really highlight what you do well; this is your opportunity to brag about yourself and your accomplishments. Be proud of them!
Answer effectively the all important question- What is your weakness?
This is one of the most difficult questions to answer effectively, but crucial to do well. You should answer this question by turning your weakness into strength. For example: "I struggle with time management and work-life balance because I am given multiple tasks at once due to my ability to always meet deadlines; however I tend to lose track of time and work much longer hours."
Don't bring up salary/benefits or fixate on job title in the first interview
The goal of the first interview is to determine if there is a mutual interest and/or mutual career match in order to move on to the next step in the hiring process, typically a second interview. The questions you ask should revolve around the company, the position, the hiring manager, the qualifications needed, etc.
However, if the interviewer does bring up salary during the course of the first interview, always answer the question, but keep it open and negotiable or give a range, don't lock yourself into a number this early in the process.
Close on yourself when you end an interview- VERY IMPORTANT!
You have one last opportunity to sell yourself and leave a positive impression on the interviewer before you exit…how do you want them to remember you?
You should leave an interview knowing that you expressed a strong interest to want to work for that company and that you have the drive and desire to take on the position. You should leave having the interviewer think that you really want this job.
Don't be afraid to ask the final question
"Do my skills meet the requirements that you are looking for in this role?"
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