As a former recruiter, I have conducted hundreds of job interviews. Successful interviewees distinguished themselves by how professional, prepared, and confident they were during their interviews. Preparations they had made before their interviews and the manner in which they answered interview questions gave them the advantage they needed to wrestle jobs away from candidates who were not quite as prepared. By following the 10 simple tips below, you too can make a great impression during your interview and land that dream job!
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before the interview. You’ll not only look fresher, you’ll also be able to think clearly and concentrate on the interviewer’s questions. An enthusiastic, well-rested individual always makes a far better impression than someone who appears haggard and can’t refrain from yawning during the interview!
- Review your resume before the interview. Be prepared to explain gaps in employment and reasons why you left your previous jobs.
- Research your prospective employer. Reviewing the company’s website can give you a wealth of information about the company’s mission, day-to-day operations, and culture. The more knowledge you have about the company, the better you’ll be able to tailor your interview answers to show your qualifications match what the company is looking for.
- Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer based on your research of the company and the description of the job for which you are applying. By asking questions about dress code, company culture, management expectations, etc. you convey to the interviewer a sense of enthusiasm and interest in the position. It usually will give you a competitive edge over other candidates who don’t ask questions. Avoid asking about salary and hours, though. The interviewer should bring up that information, either in the interview itself or when they actually offer the job to you.
- Dress appropriately. Even if you believe the company dress code to be very informal, dress nicely for the interview. A suit and tie may not be warranted; however, you can’t go wrong with a nice shirt, pressed pants or skirt. Making an effort to dress up a bit for the interview will always impress the interviewer.
- Arrive five to ten minutes early for the interview. This gives the interviewer an idea of what they can expect when they hire you. Most employers are a bit leery of hiring someone who is late to an interview, unless they have a very good reason for being late. Plan accordingly for traffic delays, etc. You don’t want to plant seeds of doubt about your reliability even before the interview begins.
- Be polite, courteous, professional, and enthusiastic during the interview. The interviewer is not only looking to see if you have the necessary skills to do the job, they are also judging if you will be an easy person to work with, give assignments to, etc. In effect, they want to see that you are a team player who knows how to work well with others.
- Answer questions directly and honestly. Don’t embellish work or educational information. Most employers check references. If you don’t have the experience or education that you claim to have, you probably will not get the job.
- Clarify the job description at some point in the interview. Mention any school or work projects you have been involved with that require skills similar to those required for the job. Highlight your successes!
- At the end of the interview, ask what the next step in the interview process is. Get a business card from the interviewer. Make sure to write a thank you note to the interviewer and stick it in the mail by the next day.
As a former recruiter, I’ve noticed that the most successful interviewees follow the tips mentioned above. Heeding the advice in this article can give you the advantage you need to edge out your competition and get hired!