10 Tips to Rock Your Interview
By: Cheryl Stewart, Career Specialist
The goal of a job search is to get an interview, but often when you get an interview it doesn’t turn into a job offer. Here are some things to remember that will help you ace your next interview.
Interviewing is a game and a game has rules. To play the game well, you need to know the rules. An interview is fairly short, so you only have a short time to sell yourself, but that’s not all. You must follow these rules.
Tip #1: Make a Good First Impression
People hire people they like and feel they can work with well. You have to make the interviewer like you. Your first impression is critical. The way to make a good first impression is:
- Do not be late to your interview. It is better to be a little early.
- Eat before you don your interview clothing. It is easy to drop food or spill a drink when you are nervous. So, once you are dressed, only drink water. If you spill, it won’t ruin your outfit.
- Go easy on the caffeine. It might cause you to fidget or appear nervous.
- Have good hygiene. Shower, shave, brush your teeth, fix your hair, do our makeup, clean your nails, touch up your nail polish, and pluck or cut stray nose, chin and/or ear hair. Also, go easy on the makeup. Office lighting can make your makeup look harsh.
- Don’t wear perfume, cologne, or aftershave. Some people are allergic to scents; others just may not enjoy your preferred scent.
Tip #2: Dress Appropriately
- Always wear clean pressed clothing and polished shoes.
- If you are male, wear a long-sleeved, button-down shirt, a tie, and belt.
- If you are female, wear a pair of nice slacks or a skirt with a length no higher than mid-knee.
- Skip heavy boots, sandals, moccasins, and overly high or stacked heels.
- Make sure your clothing is clean, pressed and have your outfit ready a few days before.
- If you are male, wear an undershirt to help catch the perspiration if you get overly nervous.
Tip #3: Be Prepared
- Bring a pen and a briefcase or folder to hold extra resumes, letters of reference, etc.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Research the company online. Visit the company website, look up their Yelp reviews or trade journals. What are their products or services? Who are their competitors?
Tip #4: Be Confident, Not Arrogant
- No matter how you feel, force yourself to act cool, calm, and composed.
- Shake hands with those you are introduced to and with your interviewer, and do so firmly.
- Say, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” to each person you meet.
- Look every person you speak to in the eye.
- If you are interviewed by a panel, look at each person for a few seconds as you speak, and then move on to the next person. Include everyone, and be sure to smile.
- Once you have defined the hiring criteria, don’t be shy. Volunteer the reasons why you are the best candidate for the job. Talk about your experience, education, commitment to excellence, history of performance, etc., and how they relate to the job.
Tip #5: Listen Attentively
- When your interviewer is speaking, nod your head. Really hear what the interviewer is saying and show enthusiasm for what is being said. Smile occasionally.
- Ask questions to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the position and company.
- Don’t be afraid to be humorous, but be appropriate and not offensive.
Tip #6: Answer Questions Positively
Never talk negatively about a former job, employer or co-worker. Ever.
Tip #7: Give Direct Answers and Don’t Ramble
When you are nervous, it is easy to answer a question, start rambling, and veer off-course. If you do this, you will be talking yourself right out of the job offer. When asked a specific question, answer it directly, but briefly. If the interviewer wants more details, he or she will ask for them.
Tip #9: Express Interest Before You Leave
At the end of the interview always express your interest in the position. Since you were invited to interview, you already know you met the minimum qualifications, but so did your competition. You need to differentiate yourself from your competition by telling the interviewer you feel you are a perfect fit for the job, you are highly interested in the job, and set up a time for your next communication with them.
Tip #10: Send a Thank-You
Get the names of all interviewers and then send him, her, or them, a thank you note, via regular mail or email, immediately after leaving the interview. Reiterate your interest in the job. Make necessary clarifications and mention particulars about the interview if appropriate, but be brief. And, spell check to ensure there are no spelling errors. Your goal is to make the interviewer remember you and to see you as a person willing to go the extra mile.