In a typical interview situation, a company needs help and somebody is looking for work. Employee qualifications and job details will have been clear in writing. But there is more to it than that — the true purpose of the interview is to dig deeper and get a feel for the potential fit. In fact, it is really a tool for the interviewer and the interviewee.
Check out these helpful tips to not just to get the job, but to get the job that is best for you and your employer.
- You’ve probably already thought about brushing up on your relevant skills and knowledge. Yes, this is necessary, but don’t overdo it. It’s more important to be well rested before your interview than to stay up all night and arrive exhausted carrying three espressos all for yourself.
- Check the company website. Find out as much as you can so you feel prepared, can demonstrate your knowledge, and ask insightful questions.
- Have you stumbled over interview questions before? If so, what were they and how would you answer them now? It’s worth thinking ahead of time about your answers to potentially challenging questions. Many interviewers like these types of questions to see how you respond, as well as to hear your specific answer.
- Visualize a successful outcome. This will help you prepare emotionally and will make you feel more confident.
On your way to the interview, smile. If you put a pencil between your teeth so that it forces your lips apart, you can’t help but smile and when you smile you can’t help but feel better. Science fact. (Don’t do this while driving or during the interview, though ☺). Still, remembering to smile (…without the pencil) is a good idea before, during, and after your interview.
- Another way to boost your energy and mood is to listen to a favorite song or to have something pleasant planned for after your interview.
- Remember that you are expressing yourself, as well as proving you have the right skills and will be a good fit with that company’s culture.
- Speak confidently; know the difference between sharing your accomplishments and being arrogant. Confidence is believing in yourself without needing to prove that you’re better than anyone else.
- Within the first 30 seconds of your interview, an employer will have their first impression about whether or not to hire you. Don’t waste that precious time by distracting the interviewer by your ripped jeans or staring at your feet in flip-flops. For interviews, business formal is the default style of dress (that means no polo shirts, too).
- Take care to avoid distracting elements such as cologne or perfume. Keep jewelry minimal and save your mohawk for the weekend.
- Bring a folder or a pad of paper and something to write with. Make sure your pen works.
Bring several copies of your resume.
- Use positive language. If you can talk about problems as though they are opportunities with multiple solutions (they are), people will want you on their team.
- Do bring up your concerns or questions. This is an opportunity for you to find out more information, too. It’s not about candidates jumping through hoops, which can be a traditional – but less helpful way – of approaching this special interaction. Don’t think of it as a test. An interview is an opportunity for both sides to dig deeper into what it would mean to add you to that company and how the fit would be for everyone.
- Speaking of opportunities, this is your chance to touch on things that may not be written on your resume. Elaborate on your soft skills and your personality. Don’t just say that you work well with people. Mention how and give examples.
- During the interview, balance being yourself and being professional. Think about what the business needs from its employees, but don’t be a robot. Show your personality. Remember that balance though. Don’t take your shoes off and put your feet up on the table, even if your interviewer does.
Here’s what Lexi Combs, one of Concero’s professional recruiters, says about interviews:
“If you’ve been asked to do an interview, remember that the company wants you to be there and is rooting for you to succeed. An interview brings your resume to life, so be engaging and curious. You wouldn’t be in the interview in the first place if there weren’t some technical skills that are aligned with the position requirements. But it’s your demeanor and attitude that will make you stand out.”
- Be curious. People who are interested in things normally have questions about them. Don’t ask questions for the sake of it, though, or ramble on. If your interviewer has already answered all of your sensible questions, all you need to do is thank them for having been comprehensive.
- If you are working with a recruiter, don’t ask the interviewer about your salary. They are good questions, but save them for your recruiter.
- Ask for the job. In marketing, we talk about including a call-to-action. People need to know what they are expected to do, or they need a push, even when it seems obvious. Asking for the job is powerful.
After your interview, go and do that special thing you had planned to boost your energy and mood. Just before that, however, don’t forget to give your recruiter a call to let them know how it went. A personal letter (or at minimum an email) thanking the interviewer for their time and expressing your interest in the opportunity, if you are still interested, is the final step in completing a successful interview experience.