Interviews can feel like professional speed dating. Tricky? Sometimes. Rewarding? Definitely! If you have an interview, it means a hiring manager noticed you and you’ve gotten through the first part. You can ace your interview as long as you keep your confidence high and your head cool. Here are a few tips for acing your interview, so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff on the big day.
Research, research, research!
You should know the company you’re applying to work for, so take the time to read up on your prospective company a few days before your interview. Also important? Reading the description of the job you’re applying for! It’s common for interviewers to ask why you want this specific job, so don’t be afraid to reference details from the job description. They’ll be impressed with your attention to detail and your passion for the job.
Instead of bringing your normal handbag to the interview, bring necessities only. You should absolutely bring a photo ID, extra copies of your resume (in a protective envelope so they’re not bent and smudged when you arrive), a pen, notepad, and (if they’re relevant) work samples. Your cellphone, keys, and other items can stay in the car – you want the focus to be on you and how professional you are, not the noises coming from your pockets. To help, invest in your professional development by purchasing a nice padfolio specifically for interviews; your designer handbag may be worth showing off, but you want the focus to be on you as a potential employee – not your amazing fashion sense.
Arrive Ten Minutes Early
Some employers will ask you to arrive early so you can complete additional paperwork, but if not – arrive ten minutes early anyways. Not fifteen, not five – just ten.
Why the exact number? Believe it or not, there is such a thing as arriving to an interview too early. You never want a company or interviewer to feel pressured to hurry so they can get to you. It’s also important that you know how to manage your time, and ten minutes is plenty of time to settle in with reception. As they say in theater – early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.
Be Nice To Everyone
Even if the day of the interview has been a trying day, enter the office with a friendly and positive attitude. The odds are that you’ll interact with several people at the company before your interview starts, so don’t save up all your manners for the interviewer. Word travels fast around the office, and you never want to leave anybody with a negative impression. Imagine that you had to spend your first day of your new job working to combat a negative perception of you – yikes!
Speak The Right (Body) Language
What you don’t say is just as important as what you do. Present a pleasantly firm (but not too firm that it’s aggressive) handshake when you greet your interviewer and make an effort to maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. Keep good posture (even if your interviewer is lounging in their chair!) and try not to “talk” too much with your hands. You want to come across as likeable and professional, so don’t be afraid to smile and let your fabulous personality shine through at the right moments.
Remember An Interview is a Two-Way Conversation
An interview isn’t just an opportunity for a company to see if you’re a good fit for them, it’s also for you to learn if that company is a good fit for you. If you learn that the job isn’t what you wanted or if the company culture rubs you the wrong way, it’s good that you know now and not after you’ve started the job. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions! You should leave the interview with a clear idea of whether you want the job as well.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde. Never underestimate the power of authenticity. Humans have an innate sense of sniffing out if someone is faking it, so put your best foot forward and dress to impress, while maintaining your true self. You’re perfect as you are, so be honest about your experiences and relax. You’ve got this!