It’s a scary fact that many employers decide within 10 minutes whether a candidate is right for the position. You may be prepared for the interview in the sense that you’ve researched the company, memorized your strengths, and thought of good questions to ask the interviewer but, the point of an interview is for the hiring mangers to see if they like you in person. Don’t fret my friends, there is a formula for walking out of every interview thinking, “Nailed it.”
Step 1. Dress sharp. Unless you’re interviewing for a position as a yoga teacher, any type of stretchy pants are out. That goes for dark, light, or any other shade of jeans. The safest way to go is a two piece suit, or a dress and blazer, in dark colors. Business casual is not merely a suggestion.
Step 2. Complete your look with a classic watch, a belt (if appropriate), presentable outerwear if the weather calls for it, and very subtle jewelry for girls. Stud earrings and/or a small chain necklace will make you look pulled together without causing a distraction. Pay attention to details! Knowing you are flawless from head to toe will help instill confidence.
Step 3.Be 15-30 minutes early. Your arrival may be the hiring manager’s first impression of you, so make it count. This will not only make you punctual, but give you extra time to fill out paperwork. Some people like to go over their resume and notes one last time as well. The earlier you are, the more calm and collected you will feel by the time the actual interview takes place.
Step 4. Take a few sips of water and breath while you wait. Reviewing your notes before an interview is good practice, but remember you’re not crunching for an exam. Take the time to assert to yourself that you are prepared, you are qualified, and you are confident. Sit up a little straight, put on a smile, and be relaxed.
Step 5. If you’re kept waiting for a while, be careful not to show any agitation. Be aware of your body language and facial expressions. Try to avoid checking your phone once you’re in the building. 60% of CareerBuilder surveyed employers say they view checking texts and phone calls negatively.
Step 6. Smile and shake hands like you mean it, because you are self-assured and happy to be there. It’s cliche, but clammy, limp hands make you seem timid. If you tend to get damp palms when you’re nervous, carry tissues to the interview and dry your hands inconspicuously before you see the interviewer.
Step 7. When you answer questions, talk slowly. Many people talk quickly when they are nervous. Be assertive in answering, ask them thoughtful and intelligent questions, and at the conclusion of the interview thank the person for their time and say you enjoyed meeting with them.
Step 8. Get a business card, or at the very least the email address, of your interviewer. Send them a thank-you email within 24 hours. This is will reinforce that you’re professional and set you apart from other candidates who may have neglected this step.
Ready for the thank-you email? Follow up next week and we’ll tell you all you need to know about sending a thank you email to employers.