Preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking, but putting your best foot forward can be simple if you take the right steps.
Here are my top 5 tips to ready yourself for the most successful day of your career thus far. Be sure to check out my prior post: 5 Interview Questions You Need to Master.
Practice answering my suggested interview questions out loud. Yes, really. It’s even better if you practice with someone else, because your partner can give you feedback on your responses–what you should add, qualities you should emphasize, etc. This will also help you practice making eye contact with someone when you are under pressure racking your brain for the right words!
Know your audience. When you set up your interview time slot, be sure to ask who will be interviewing you. This may be a panel of people or an individual. Also, knowing the interviewers’ positions in the company will give you a better sense of the types of questions you may be asked, or the questions you might want to ask in return. The more information you know in advance, the more confident you will feel when you enter the room.
Look the part. Whether this is your first interview with the company, or your third, you want to make sure you give an excellent impression. This is not the time to skimp on your clothing choices. Wear the best version of what is expected, whether that is a flattering suit, a nice skirt, or a pair of slacks. Remember my parents’ advice: when in doubt, always dress up! You can’t go wrong being over-dressed for something, but it would give a poor impression to be under-dressed. Whatever you choose, be sure to “own” it. Don’t wear something that makes you feel uncomfortable–awkwardness is not a quality you want to project to a prospective employer!
Make sure your clothes are pressed and your shoes are polished (most people forget this step until they are ready to walk out the door!). Nothing beats having an impressive, put-together look than a scuffed-up pair of heels!
Greet everyone and treat them with respect. You will be judged from the second you park your car (you never know who will be parked next to you, or who might be watching you walk inside), so from the time you enter the property, be confident and kind. That parking attendant or secretary might become your greatest ally, once you land the job!
Be yourself. Employers appreciate honesty and most can smell a skunk from a mile away (remember that this is not the first interview they’ve conducted!). They are searching for an applicant that is not only qualified, but also someone who will fit in well in their workplace. Are you a candidate they will want to spend their day with? Be sure to convey that in the interview. This perspective will also help to calm your nerves a bit: just remember that the interview panel is made up of people, not robots seeking perfection. Likeable candidates are much more likely to land a job, than someone without personality. That said, save the comedy routine for happy hour.
These tips will not only ensure you’ve appropriately prepared for your interview, they also reinforce basic skills to be successful in the field. Keep these techniques in your pocket, even after you land the job–they allow you to put your best foot forward and reach for success!