You’ve sent out your resume, polished your cover letter, and honed the art of filling out the perfect job application. So what comes next in the world of hiring? You need to brush up on your interview skills, of course. Even the most impressive resume won’t be enough to get you through the door if your interview presence falls flat. Below, we’ve compiled 10 of the best tips to help you avoid interview pitfalls.
- Research Who You’ll Be Meeting With
Being fully prepared for an interview begins with building a sound platform of understanding. Your knowledge of the potential employer, the requirements needed to perform the job, and the background of the people you will be sitting down with should all be thoroughly researched beforehand. You’ll come off looking prepared and competent if you can display this basic understanding of the job and its practices.
- Dress For the Job You Want
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and dressing for success is a big part in putting your best foot forward. Look clean and professional, and aim to be overdressed, not underdressed. Make sure you use good hygiene, and keep accessories, hair, and makeup understated. You want your personality and skills to stand out, not your physical appearance.
- Make Sure to Be Punctual and Prepared
Nothing can kill momentum in a hiring process like lateness, which can be an indicator to an employer that you are not serious about the job. Arrive 15 minutes early for the interview, and make sure to be prepared with any items you might need for the meeting, like a portfolio of work or spare resumes. Always bring paper and pen to jot down any notes, and turn your phone on silent.
- Go Over Frequently Asked Interview Questions
It’s no secret that employers often ask a series of the same types of questions in interviews, and preparing your responses to these types of questions will be fundamental in your success. Craft concise, to-the-point answers that can be backed up with real world examples from your own experience. Don’t try to memorize, but rather rely on storytelling to get your point across.
- Be Courteous to Everyone You Meet
It may seem obvious, but you should be kind and respectful to everyone you encounter, not just the individual that does the hiring. That means the person at the reception desk, the person who offers you a cup of coffee, the person who lets you in the door. All of these people will form some sort of opinion of you. And when it is time to meet face-to-face with the interviewer, be professional and courteous, and begin with a firm handshake and a smile.
- Put Forward Good Body Language
Our body language can tell another person a lot about how we’re feeling, so pay attention to how you present yourself. Sit up straight and don’t fidget, and take care not to keep your arms crossed in a hostile manner. Smile and make eye contact, and resist any urge you might feel to yawn, which will make it seem as if you are bored by the job prospect.
- Emit Professional Qualities
In any interview, you want to be your authentic self, but also the best version of yourself. That means staying upbeat and focused, while remaining confident and concise. You want the interviewer to see you as an honest person who can speak with candor, so be upfront when asked a question. And never badmouth a previous employer, which will only make you yourself look petty.
- Ask Smart Questions
An employer wants someone who is thoughtful and thinks ahead. At some point in the interview, he or she will likely ask if you have any questions, and an answer of “No, not really” won’t go over well. Make sure to listen during the interview and jot down questions as you think of them. Better yet, take some time prior to the interview to write down some queries you might already have.
- Sell Yourself, Then Get the Deal Done
Sometimes in life, the most qualified candidate does not always get the job. Sometimes, it is the person who understands how to sell themselves, and how to get the deal closed. In your interview, treat your role as that of a salesperson, and you are the product you are selling. At the end of the meeting, ask about the next steps in the hiring process. Don’t be pushy, but let the employer know you want to lock this job down.
- Send a Thank You
After the interview, always send a follow up by way of a thank you. This can be in the form of an email or card, but let the employer know you appreciate their time and that they can reach out to you if they need anything further.