Job interviews are infamously anxiety-inducing, particularly when you haven’t ever experienced one before. The good news is that basic preparation goes a long way toward quelling those inevitable nerves.
10 Tips For Approaching Your Interviews
Here are 10 tips for approaching interviews so you can be sure you’re best conveying your strengths and charms when it matters.
(1) Read up on the company.
Research the business you’re applying to on its website so you can directly relate your own interests and skills to its mission.
(2) Have another set of eyes proofread your application.
You may think your application is concise and flawlessly constructed. It’s tough, though, to spot even glaring spelling or grammatical errors in our own work, especially if we’ve been slaving over it endlessly. Have somebody else proof the materials so silly mistakes don’t slip through.
Don’t just tremble at what you imagine an interview will be like—rehearse! No, you don’t know exactly what an interviewer will ask, but it’s easy to brainstorm a list of sample questions. Have somebody assume the role of your questioner and do several dry runs so you can practice your presentation and bearing.
(4) Plan a “business casual” outfit.
Appearance matters: You want your interview outfit to reflect your professionalism and suggest the diligence with which you’ll approach the job. Dress conservatively and smartly; don’t try to impress with bold fashion statements.
(5) Arrive early.
Come to the interview 15 minutes early: Punctuality shows organization and commitment. Don’t forget to turn off that cell phone: You don’t want a blaring ringer abruptly ruining your first impression.
(6) Send the right signals.
You may be saying all the right things, but if your body language is off you may be sabotaging yourself. Maintain direct eye contact and don’t give a limp handshake. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward, which project confidence and engagement. And remember to smile!
(7) Demonstrate your preparation.
Mention the research you’ve done on the company: Specifically cite a few details from the website (or whatever other materials you perused) and how they resonated with you.
(8) Be ready with questions.
Your interviewer will likely conclude by turning the tables and asking whether you have any questions. Don’t make the mistake of saying, “Nope!” Have some queries—about the company or the position, say—ready in advance.
(9) Inquire about the next step.
If it’s obvious that the interview is indeed winding down, highlight your initiative—and prove you really want the position—by inquiring about next steps. Ask, for example, about the hiring committee’s decision-making timeframe and whether you can provide any more details.
(10) Follow up.
Send a thank-you email after the interview, and again offer to supply any further information about yourself.
If you do your homework and rehearse a few times before an interview, you’ll likely discover on the morning of the big day that you’ve actually developed some well-earned self-confidence: You know your material and you’re ready to put your best foot forward. And that’s a great feeling!