Interviews can be intimidating and stressful for some people. Especially, if it’s your first or for a position you really want. The key is to know how to interview well.
The following 10 tips are designed to help you feel more prepared and comfortable with the interview process. You are a package, how you look, how you speak, your education, and previous experience will all be considered. Interviewers don’t just focus on one or two things; they focus on the entire package.
Let’s jump right in…
1. Dress Like You Want The Job
You’ve heard it time and time again, dress for success. What you wear does matter because it reflects an image you are trying to portray. Knowing how to dress is an important part of the interview. While your wardrobe can make a good impression, it can also boost your confidence.
Over-dressing is far more forgivable than under-dressing. Typically, there are two types of business styles, business professional and business casual. How you dress will greatly depend on the job you are applying for.
Business Professional: Tailored slacks, a nice blouse, and a blazer are good and appropriate choices for most interviews. If you would like to wear a dress it needs to be knee-length and have a modest neckline.
Business Casual: Slacks and a nice blouse. You can add a cardigan. If you wear a dress or skirt it needs to be knee-length.
Business Professional: A good-fitting suit. If you don’t have a suit you can also wear slacks, with a button-down shirt and jacket. Be sure to wear a belt and match them with your shoes. Black belt, black shoes. Brown belt, brown shoes.
Business Casual: Less casual slacks like khakis or chinos are fine. Pair them with a button-down shirt, or a polo shirt (shirt with a collar). Be sure to tuck the shirt in and wear a belt.
The clothes do not have to be expensive. If you are on a tight budget check out a second-hand store. It might take some digging but you will be able to put together something nice and affordable.
2. Arrive On Time
First impressions are everything. Absolutely under no circumstances do you show up late. Arriving on time for the interview demonstrates commitment and consideration for the person who is giving the interview. If shows respect and that you are dependable.
3. Focus on Your Body Language
Your body language says a lot about you. It tells your interviewer if you are comfortable, prepared, anxious, relaxed, or even angry. Your body language will reflect your confidence and professionalism.
Watch your posture. Stand up straight and don’t let your shoulders droop. Use natural hand gestures as you speak. Try not to use the words, “um” and “like”. These filler words show that you did not prepare, or you are nervous.
4. Work On Nonverbal Communication Skills
With nonverbal communication skills, you can show your interviewer that you are confident and professional. The first nonverbal impression you can make is making eye contact, a relaxed smile, and a firm handshake.
Standing and sitting up straight displays confidence, an unconfident interviewee may allow their shoulders to droop which may make them look sloppy or unprofessional. Holding eye contact throughout the interview shows you’re interested in the interview and is very important to show that you’re paying attention and listening to the interviewer when they are speaking.
Additionally, monitor your facial expressions, throughout your interview. This will allow you to convey your understanding, your interest, and your friendliness via your facial expressions. You want to monitor your facial expressions because stress and anxiety can lead to looks of fear and concern.
5. Be Professional
Professionalism is important. Use appropriate language, be respectful, don’t talk too much, and don’t be too familiar or “friendly”. Show up well-groomed by showering, smelling pleasant, and doing your hair. Do not use profanity, avoid using slang words, and be considerate if any discussion includes topics such as age, race, religion, politics, or sexual orientation.
Talking too much could result in telling the interviewer more than they need to know. You can talk yourself right out the door with too much rambling. As you answer questions, be concise. An interview is a professional environment. Therefore, you’re not aiming to make a new friend. The environment should be friendly but don’t overstep, your familiarity should be similar to that of your interviewer.
6. Be Prepared By Doing Some Research
One of the first things you need to do when it comes to nailing an interview is to research the college or company that you’re going to be interviewing for. Get to know the company’s culture, values, and mottos. Read and reread the job posting so that you are familiar with all the responsibilities. Practice answering basic and industry-specific interview questions.
In most interviews, you will be asked 3 standard questions:
- 1. Tell me about yourself.
- 2. Do you work better in a team or alone? And, why?
- 3. What’s your biggest weakness?
Start with these questions and then put yourself in the role of the interviewer and think about what you would like to hear. Your answers throughout the interview will reflect your preparedness.
7. Always Be Humble
Your attitude during the interview will reflect on the type of employee and team member you would be. Balance confidence and professionalism by being modest. Overconfidence can be off-putting. You want to show that you would be a valuable and pleasant team member.
8. Be Considerate To The Interviewer
Be considerate of the interviewer’s time. They are interviewing to determine if you would be a good fit. Show your appreciation for this opportunity. They will see that you care about not only your success but being a good person, a good employee, and a member of a team.
9. Be A Good Listener
Being a good listener is very valuable during an interview. While the interviewer is speaking it’s important to hear the words and let them know that you heard them. Sometimes stress and anxiety can make us tune out other people while they are speaking. This is something you want to avoid to ensure you hear anything important.
10. Be Ready To Ask A Few Questions
Most interviewers will ask the interviewee if they have any questions. The majority of interviewees are going to answer “No” because they simply don’t have any. You will be asked this question. Therefore, be prepared to ask questions. Do not be the interviewee that says, “No.” Asking questions shows you are interested in what the interviewer has to say and you want to know more about the company or your job responsibilities. Asking questions should be natural and give you insight into the work environment.
After The Interview
If additional information was requested, provide it as soon as you can. The hiring process takes time, so try and be patient. I know it will be hard. If you would like to follow up, just make sure it’s not too soon.
Creating A Career Plan Begins In College because it gives you direction and focus. Your career plan will help you identify what you can do while you’re in college to make you a strong job candidate.