You’ve applied for the job and landed an interview. It’s the chance for a brand new start and you want to put your best self out there when meeting your potential new coworkers and supervisors.
There are so many things to consider before and during the interview process, and all of it can be overwhelming! Although I cannot promise that you’ll be hired (believe me, I wish I could!) I have some tricks that may increase your chances when the time comes.
Here’s how you can rock your next interview.
Do Your Homework
Although I assume you checked out the company or organization to which you’re applying before you initially applied, do a more thorough look before your interview. Visit the company’s website and do some reading, maybe get an idea of their statistics, what their goals and missions are, who they serve and how big of an area they serve, what their focus is. Research even further using sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor, and discover what individuals and employees are saying about the company.
Often, interviewers will test your knowledge. They want to see their potential employees taking initiative, show interest in what they do, and able to jump right into the position if necessary.
Be Prepared with Extra Copies
Print off at least two extra copies of your cover letter, resume, references list, professional work samples and letters of recommendation. Use a paperclip and a new manila folder to keep everything neat, organized and wrinkle-free and take that into your interview with you. You never know when you need extras and it makes you look like you’re prepared for any situation!
I had an interview once expecting to meet with only one person, but another joined. Because I had extra copies of everything, she didn’t need to share with the other individual and was able to write down her own notes.
Dress to Impress, with Limitations
Even I fret a bit about the perfect ensemble to wear to an interview. Of course, you want to look polished and dress to show professionalism, but I have some tips I remember that make the task of choosing an outfit much easier.
The first thing to consider is the position and company you’re applying to. What would you assume the general dress code would be? Match that, and maybe go up a notch. Secondly, I want to make sure I don’t only look professional, but comfortable in what I’m wearing to the interview. Pick something you’re sure won’t result in a wardrobe malfunction. This applies to shoes, too. Ladies, make sure all accessories are conservative and simple, and I’d recommend bare, clean nails or a neutral manicure. I’d skip perfume or cologne. It’s easily overdone and your interviewer might have an allergy!
Also, take some time the night before the interview to go through your closet and nail down your outfit instead of rushing to mix and match the day of. Still need help? Ask a friend for an opinion.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
This should go without saying. Make sure you leave for your interview in plenty of time just in case you get stuck in traffic, bad weather occurs, or something you never thought possible takes place. I personally like being 10-15 minutes early.
Of course, life does happen. If you think you’re going to be late for any reason, make sure to call the company and let them know you’re on your way.
Use Nervous Feelings to Your Advantage
Most of us get nervous before and during an interview. It can be a big deal and we want to show our best selves. However, instead of succumbing to those emotions, use them. Feeling fidgety? Use your hands (conservatively!) when you talk to be more engaging or keep your hands folded together on your knee or lap. Use the nervous energy and turn it into positive energy with smiles or laughter at the appropriate times. Take a moment to breathe before you respond.
Most interviewers will understand nervousness, and the good ones will try and make you feel as comfortable as possible.
Speak From the Heart
You’re smart enough to guess what types of questions might be asked during your interview, but for those that come out of left field, don’t rush into an answer. Take your time and respond to all queries with sincerity. Interviewers will be able to tell if you’re only saying things you think they want to hear. Don’t BS with them and don’t waste their time. Be yourself. Let them get to know the real you and the your reasons for wanting the job besides pay and benefits.
Near the end of your interview, it’s likely you will be asked if you have any questions. Make sure you do, even if they’re basic. Not having something to ask makes you look passive and uninterested. This also would be a good time to inquire if there are internal candidates seeking the position — yes, that can make a big difference on the outcome — and what salary figures look like if you don’t know already.
Some examples of casual questions to ask, if they haven’t already been answered during the interview:
- What’s the working atmosphere like on a day-to-day basis?
- Do you like your job? What do you like most?
- Do you offer any learning opportunities for me to grow as an employee?
- If I generate a new idea to improve a process, system, format, etc., how will that be received?
Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Thank-You Note
Want to score some major brownie points? Send a personalized, hand-written thank-you card with a few sentences about how you appreciate your interviewer(s) taking the time out of their busy schedule to speak with you and how excited you are to be considered for the position. Do this as soon as possible following your interview and pop it in the mailbox that day. Not only is it a nice gesture which you should do anyway, but it also shows deeper qualities of you as a person. In addition, what a great impression you’ll make if you’re the only interviewee to send one! Even if you don’t end up getting the job in the end, odds are you will be remembered in a positive light.
Send a thank-you card after each in-person interview. If you’re interviewed by phone, it’s appropriate to send an Email of thanks.
Now, go out there and get that dream job. You got this.
What are your personal tricks that help you prepare for a job interview? Leave those in the comments!