After spending months hunting for the perfect job you finally land an interview, and you feel like you could never be prepared enough. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t worry -you’re not alone. Even the most confident people can get psyched out during the interview process. Not only do we try to make ourselves look like the best possible candidate for a job, but we also become hyper aware of how every aspect of our personality, work experience, and appearance is being judged by someone important.
Besides taking a deep breath and thinking positive, there are a few simple things that you can do to make sure that you leave that interview having put your best foot forward. Here are some of our tips on how to shine during your next interview.
Mind Your Manners
Everything your mother taught you about how to be a civilized human being will come in handy during your interview. Don’t put your elbows on the table, say please and thank you, and always cross your legs at the ankles are just some of Mom’s useful words of wisdom that will make all of the difference. Sure, you are there to be questioned about your work experience and why you want to join their company, but slacking on your manners will make you look sloppy and immature, which is not who your potential future employer is looking to hire.
Dress to Impress
Looking polished and professional is one of the most important parts of your interview process. Before you even open your mouth to say hello to the hiring manager, your clothes and how you present yourself will speak volumes about who you are, or at least who you could be. The ideal outfit is something stylish but office-appropriate (don’t turn to Vogue for inspiration, that is, unless you are interviewing at Vogue), making the wearer look like a sophisticated and reliable professional. Don’t show any skin you wouldn’t show at Thanksgiving dinner with Grandma, keep your heels on the lower side (or avoid them if you have trouble walking in them), and make sure that when you are choosing what colors to wear, they aren’t too loud. Sure, the outfit speaks before you do, but you don’t want it to be screaming.
Your interview style isn’t just limited to your outfit, so make sure your nails are freshly manicured, your makeup is on the natural side, and that your hair is clean and in place.
Come Prepared & Know the Company
Never step foot into an interview without having at least one, non-wrinkled copy of your resume on hand. You never know if they will ask for it or not, and you will look put together and on top of things if you have one to give them.
During the interview, you will be mostly talking about yourself and your experiences, but make sure that you have done as much research as possible on the company and the role you are applying for. It will make you look eager for the job, but it will also keep you from slipping up and saying anything incorrect during your interview. One of the biggest turn- offs for hiring managers is someone who doesn’t know anything about the company they are trying to work for or the position they are trying to get.
Always Ask Questions
Every interview will end the same way, with the hiring manager asking if you have any questions. Always ask a question, no matter what. This will give you an opportunity to dive into topics that may not have been discussed in the interview or to get an elaboration on something that was already brought up. Above all else, it will make you look like you were paying attention and really care about the job. While you are researching the company and position, jot down a few questions that come up, like what the hours typically are or what others who have taken this position have gone on to do. If you can’t come up with any questions, turn the attention around towards the interviewer by asking how they like working for the company or what their favorite aspect of their job is. People love talking about themselves, so flattering the interviewer by taking an interest in their perspective will look favorably on you.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
This is the last thing you will do after an interview, and it is the most important step. It’s essentially like sending a thank you note after some distant relative sends you a check in the mail. Wait a few hours, but not longer than a day after the interview and then send a short email thanking the hiring manager for meeting with you. It’s a quick way to let the hiring manager know that you are highly interested in the position, but also keeping you fresh in their mind as they interview other candidates.