Best Tips for Face to Face Job Interview
Interview time! You’ve worked so hard on your cover letter and resume plus your job search, and now that you’re scheduled for an interview, you’re terrified. You can’t ruin things now. It’s your big chance.
If this is your first interview, you’re at least a little nervous. If it’s your tenth, you might feel discouraged. Either way, this is your chance to make a great impression and land that job, but preparation is essential.
Whether an interview for a job is already on your calendar or you’re still working on your resume, it’s never too soon to get ready. Take a look at these tips and get started.
1. What to wear
The first impression is always the most lasting impression. And in a job interview, what you wear can communicate how well you researched the company.
You know your basic grooming should be impeccable. That means a trimmed beard or fresh shave for men, and neatly trimmed and styled hair for both men and women. Do we need to mention a shower and deodorant?
As for your clothing, be sure you know the company dress code. Even if it’s super casual, stay on the more formal side of things. If shorts and a T-shirt are an option, wear casual slacks, a button-up shirt (without a tie), or a skirt and a lightweight sweater or blouse instead. If suits are expected, then wear the best suit you own.
If your budget is tight, don’t forget about discount outlets and consignment shops or borrowing from a friend or relative. No matter what you wear, make sure it’s clean, pressed, and simple. For more detailed information read Dress for Success.
2. Don’t try to impress
For your first face-to-face interview, you’ll probably be nervous. And when we’re nervous, we don’t always say or do things the way we want to.
But if you make a plan, you’re less likely to be taken off guard. And whatever you do, don’t plan on acting like anyone other than who you are.
Don’t try to act tough or super smart or super anything. Hiring managers will see it’s an act and besides, studies show they’re drawn to people who are like them. They want someone who will fit in. So be yourself and be friendly with a little extra dose of calm confidence.
And pay attention: if the interviewer speaks slowly and thoughtfully, do the same but stay alert. If your interviewer is a bundle of fast-talking energy, stay calm and be yourself, but keep up with the pace. Remember, everything and anything could be a test, so if in doubt, just relax. Be you.
Relaxing in a situation when your every move is evaluated can seem impossible.
But preparation means you’ll be as close to relaxed as you can be. That means planning everything from the clothes you wear to the questions you’ll ask as far in advance as you can.
A relaxed mind and body help everyone do their best, but if you tend to get so nervous your palms get sweaty and your mind goes blank, planning ahead of time will help.
Plan on arriving at your interview location well ahead of time to allow for possible delays. Take a few minutes to chill before entering the building 15 minutes beforehand—arriving too early is never a good idea. If you’re feeling stressed, take a few slow, deep breaths and exhale fully. And remember that maintaining a gentle, friendly smile can actually influence your mood.
4. Show your Confidence
Showing your confidence—even if you don’t feel confident—is a standard part of any interview. A calm but enthusiastic demeanor is one sign of a confident interviewee. A firm handshake, good eye contact, a frequent smile, relaxed posture, and a tension-free facial expression are all things that show confidence and can be practiced. Get a friend or family member to help you by pretending to be a hiring manager.
Body language is important, so walk tall with your shoulders back when you enter the room. Throughout the interview, be friendly, and answer questions with a serious but smiling face. And don’t worry if you don’t know the answer. Confident people know their worth and ask the manager to repeat the question to buy time. Or they say, “I’m not sure but I can look that up (or think about it) and get back to you.” And follow up in your thank-you note.
No matter what, always show your positive attitude and your interest in the company and job role.
5. Research and Ask Questions
Before the interview, be prepared to answer commonly asked questions. This will help you a lot since most interviewers start the conversation with stock questions.
Here are a few common interview questions: Can you tell me a little about yourself? Why do you want this job? How much interest in the position do you have? How long do you anticipate working with us?
But the person interviewing might not ask the usual questions. If you’re asked an odd question, don’t try to get it “right” because there’s probably no right answer. But if you know your personal and career goals, your dreams, and your values, your thoughtful response will be fine.
And remember, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions, too. Practice five or six at a minimum and make a quick note in your padfolio during the interview if a question comes to mind.
Most important, research the company and its history. Study their website like you’ll be tested on it, and learn their work process, company culture, services, products, goals, initiatives, and founders’ and management’s names, especially those in your potential department and the C-suite. Dig deeper by searching online for articles about the company and read them closely.
Knowledge and preparation mean confidence. But succeeding at a job interview depends on two things: how well you present yourself and whether you’re a good fit. Presentation is something you have control over. Being a good fit for the company—or not—might not have anything to do with you.
Follow these interview tips and get that job offer! And share your questions or opinions in the comment box below.
The information on this site is provided as a courtesy. GradSiren is not a career or legal advisor and does not guarantee job interviews or offers.
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