Once you have made it to the job interview, you will have an opportunity to show your value to your potential employer in person. An interview does not mean that you have the job or almost have it. Because things are so competitive in this economy, employers are looking to see who has a good personality, who knows their specialty well, who works the hardest, and who will be a good team member. You’ll have to demonstrate these qualities in the interview, so make sure that you prepare well before you go into the interview. These interview tips can help you become successful in your interview.
Ways to Prepare for the Interview
- Know as much as you can about the company before you go into the interview room. What is their history? What do they expect from their employees? What will they expect from someone doing the job you’re interviewing for? How successful are they? What is the chain of command like in the office? Here, knowledge is power. Showing that you know a lot about the company, how things work, and what will be expected of you will show that you have drive and initiative, which potential employers always look for.
- Learn what your specific role will be within the company. If you know someone who works at the company, see if you can get the inside scoop. Also, know your worth. If you think that you deserve bonuses and perks, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the interviewer. You won’t look greedy; instead, you will be demonstrating your confidence in your value and worth.
- Even if you’ve done a hundred interviews, reviewing possible interview questions ahead of time will help calm your nerves and improve your answers. If you have a patient friend who can help you rehearse, that will do wonders for you. It works best if the friend is not close to you, since it will help to simulate the environment more accurately.
- Prepare ahead of time. Know where it is, and visit there a day or two earlier. Being late to an interview is almost an automatic write-off.
Your Interview Appearance
- Even if you’re interviewing for a blue-collar position, you still need to dress every bit as nicely as you would if you were interviewing for Wall Street. Your clothes have to be business professional, and they most be neatly pressed. Not a single wrinkle should be in sight.
- Do not wear heavy makeup or perfume. Heavy makeup looks trashy, and many are allergic to perfume. It is unprofessional. If you have tattoos, cover them, and if you have more than one set of ear piercings and are a woman, then remove all other piercings. If you are a guy, remove all of your piercings.
- Make sure that you get to the interview location at least 15 minutes early. The way you arrive at the interview shows what kind of an employee you’ll be.
- Learn who you are communicating with. Make sure you remember the name of any receptionists or secretaries you spoke to, and make sure that you know the name of the person who is interviewing you. Do not call people by their first names, if possible.
- Have good posture and hold yourself with confidence. People like to see that, even if it’s a little bit intimidating.
- If you are not an extrovert, become one. Make small talk with every person you come in contact with and show an interest in them.
How to Handle the Interview
- Keep your hands folded in your lap or on the arms of the chair. Do not cross your arms in front of your chest or play with your hair. Use your body language to demonstrate your confidence. Don’t play around with anything that you might have in your hands. If you want to avoid an emergency, politely decline the drink that they offer you.
- Even if you are nervous, do not let your body image betray you. Keep your hands calm, sit up straight, and give eye contact. People love it when others are attentive, so make sure that you don’t appear distracted or nervous.
- Don’t lie when you are asked questions. Don’t tell long, rambling stories; instead, limit your words but still get the point across. The more you stumble or dance around the subject, the less professional you’ll be.
- Your language should reflect your class and intelligence. Even if you don’t possess either, pretend like you do. Speak formally and use the jargon appropriate and specific to your job.
- Don’t assume anything. If you are asked a question that doesn’t make sense or if a statement is made that doesn’t seem right to you, ask about it. Otherwise, you will look foolish. Potential employees asking questions is a good sign, because it means that they care enough to try to understand.
- Make sure that you don’t babble nervously. If a question throws you off, take a few seconds to think about it. The more words that come out, the more likely it is that you’ll mess up.
- Avoid joking around or trying to bond with your interviewer. It will come across as immature and unprofessional. You don’t have to have a grim face on, but you do need to refrain from inappropriate behavior and words. If you step on toes or cross the wrong line, the interviewer might be too polite to let you know, but most likely, you will be written off as an employee.
- Following up on an interview is the mark of a serious employee. Those who don’t follow up often don’t get the job. Send a letter or an email thanking your interviewer for the opportunity and let them know how pleasant it was to meet them. Also, mention that you were impressed by the positive work environment and thought that it would be a good fit for you. A little assertiveness will make you look better, not worse.
Unusual Interview Situations
- If you have to do a phone interview, then parts of it will be easier and other parts of it will be challenging. Whatever you do, do not have any distractions around. Do not check your email or your text messages. Do not manicure your nails. Do not feed your dog. Pretend that you are in a true interview environment. Also, because you will not have your appearance or your social interactions to make you look better, you will have to communicate warm, friendly, professional tones over the phone. Smile and speak cheerfully, though not obnoxiously so. If it helps you to keep a list of pointers, then do that. Make sure that it won’t distract you, though.
- You can also have dinner interviews, which can become awkward easily. Don’t order foods that you could be rude with easily, like spaghetti or salad. Make sure that you use your best table manners and act like you are dining with the president. Don’t talk with your mouth full or chew with your mouth open. Be as dainty and polite as you can, even if you are a man. Respect the interviewer’s time and do not ramble on. Chances are, they are doing a dinner interview because they don’t have time to fit a regular interview in. Also, avoid getting too personal. Just because you are in a more social setting does not mean that you are friends or buddies.
- An Internet interview is another newer way to conduct interviews, using technology like Skype. These are a little more stressful, because you have to tidy your environment and make it look professional. You will also have to dress professionally for these, too. Do not have a nice top and sweatpants on; make sure that your whole outfit is professional. You don’t want your potential employers catching a glimpse or your drawers! If other people are in your house, make sure that they do not make any noise or come into the room under any circumstances. If they are bleeding, they can call 911. You will not be able to help them during the interview.
- The trickiest and most stressful types of interviews are the group interviews. It’s worst when you don’t expect a group, and it can feel like a bit of an interrogation. You’ll struggle the most with eye contact. The best way to handle that is to primarily address the person asking the question at that time, but move your eyes around just a bit. That way, everyone feels included and important. When you get into the room initially, try to learn everyone’s name and ask what role they perform in the company. Demonstrating an interest in everyone will make you look incredibly good.