You’ve searched far and wide and finally landed an interview with your top job choice. It’s a two-parter, both phone and in-person.
Success will be based on many factors, but without question there are essential guidelines to a killer interview. Following even just a few of these can dramatically change the outcome of your meeting and put you on the path to a great career.
1. Confidence is everything.
Your body language is a dead giveaway. Sure, everyone is nervous, but the people who know the job will display superior body language. They will light up when discussing the subject. You don’t have to lie and you have no problem admitting what your “faults” are.
If you don’t smile even once during an entire interview, it’s either because you aren’t happy or you have no sense of humor. If someone is making a decision on you based on little information, forgetting to smile can really set you back.
3. Dress well.
It seems obvious, but do the extra little things that might give the interviewer a quick sign that you are aware of yourself. Polished shoes, a new tie, or a unique hairstyle can all add a bit of character to your conversation.
4. Don’t be late.
You think this would be another no-brainer, but few people really go the extra mile to anticipate random weather, road blocks, or spikes in traffic. Leave at least an hour early no matter what to help reduce any stress or nerves you might have.
5. Prepare the night before.
Know what you will be wearing, what time you will wake up, and what’s for breakfast. Fill your gas tank if you must. Trying to do these on the fly can slow you down on a morning where you want to be sharp at all times.
6. Phone interviews require a bit of personality.
Because the person on the other line cannot see you smiling or what your appearance is like, they have to make certain decisions on your level of conversation. Ask some questions, comment on the local news, or do the little things that make the person detect friendliness and trust rather quickly.
7. Don’t talk poorly about your previous job.
Even though you might have a reason for gripe, your prospective employer will not like the fact that you go on at length about the negatives from your previous job stint.
8. Get adequate rest.
If you have an early appointment, then you should not have the slightest interest in staying up late or going out with friends the night before. You can enjoy some down time after you earn success.
9. If you are choosing people to recommend you, let them know.
Forgetting to inform someone that you listed them as a recommendation source can result in a poor phone call, even if unintentional. Give the individual or company a heads-up that someone will be in touch. This lets them mentally prepare what they might say, or recall a great deed that you did.
10. Prepare for common questions.
Many interviews consist of a standard set of questions that are somewhat predictable. Think about how you might answer some of the most common such as “why do you want to work here,” “what are your greatest strengths/weaknesses,” “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
11. Think of a mentor or role model you can credit for your success.
One way to sound modest is to give credit to a great boss, teacher or mentor that you had. Sharing a good story about how you learned from someone special might give the company the idea that you appreciate help and give back to those that assist you.
12. Ask as many questions as you can.
Even simple questions such as “what goals are you trying to achieve” or “what is the daily workflow” can start an engaging conversation about the position. Sometimes it’s good to find out as much about the company as you can, as you might feel that the job is not a good fit for you!
13. Eye contact.
Be sure to maintain eye contact as often as you can while speaking, especially during the first few moments when introductions are made or when the conversation has just begun. Staring off into the distance gives the impression that you don’t really care or are disengaged.
14. Use a firm handshake.
Some people will not care, but you can be sure that some of the more old school interviewers out there will make a snap judgment should you offer the classic “wet-fish” handshake. Another good time to maintain eye contact and show some confidence.
15. Save any questions about compensation or benefits until an offer is presented.
It’s obviously an important topic, but you’ll get to it sometime after the initial interview. Asking about the level of pay or range of benefits right away could give the company the sense that you aren’t passionate about the job and are only interested in the money.
16. Bring multiple copies of your résumé.
The interviewer may not have received a copy. There could be more than one person in the room. Show that you are able to think ahead when you quickly reach into your bag to distribute your résumé to everyone in attendance.
17. Avoid saying “um” or “like” too often.
If you are replying with confidence, your level of conversation should not be held up constantly by these small interruptions. Repeated usage gives the person the sense that you may be constantly fishing for answers or completely unsure of yourself. Try to relax and answer as honestly as possible.
18. Describe how a hobby or artistic venture may contribute to your work ethic.
Are you a fitness guru? Do you paint murals that require hours of time and attention to detail? Share as much as you can about the interesting side stories you are weaving. You never know when the interviewer might relate to it, or if they consider it to be a boost to your overall character.
19. If you have years of experience, offer your services as a potential mentor.
Hiring someone to do the job is one thing. Hiring someone that makes the team around them better – the best!
20. Send a Thank You.
Once everything is said and done, send a thank you note. It only requires a few minutes of your time and it may just be that extra detail that puts you above the competition.
If you can master some or all of these, you will no doubt find success in your job search. Happy hunting!
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