You have applied for a job, submitted a resume, and now you got the call for an interview. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned worker or fresh out of college, this can be nerve wrecking. You are about to meet people at a company in person and they will assess if you have the set of skills and personality to fit into the company’s work culture. Therefore, it’s vital to let them know you are the best candidate for the job and being well prepared prior to the interview will help calm your nerves. There are many steps you can and should take prior to the interview. Consider top 10 interview tips can help you leave a good lasting impression for the hiring team.
1. Do your Research
Always research the company’s values and mission prior to an interview. This illustrates to your interviewer that you are prepared and dedicated in understanding the company’s vision, processes, and purpose. In addition to using any of the company’s lingo from the job description and website, you can also highlight the information you researched on their website when connecting your skills to their needs. You can also find useful information on websites such as Glassdoor, CareerBliss, Vault, and Indeed as they often have employee reviews, common interview questions, and salary information listings. These websites receive unfiltered information from current and past employees as well as interviewees. Be aware that not all of the information may be current and not all employee experiences are the same.
2. Scope out their Location
Checking out the company’s location prior to the interview is always a good idea. This allows you time to estimate the exact distance from your home, scope out parking, and find the exact building the interview will take place in. You may also want to visit the location around the same time as the interview so you can also sense how heavy or light the traffic will be getting there during that specific time of day. You don’t want to arrive late the day of your interview. Allow enough time to get there, it’s better to be there early than late.
3. Dress Accordingly
Dress the part. If you are applying for a warehouse, wear kakis and a polo. If the company has business attire, then ensure you have business attire on. Every business has different dress codes so find out what will be appropriate attire prior to the interview. You can also check out our How to Prepare for an Interview article that discusses each color and their correlating emotions and how to use that information to choose your interview outfit accordingly.
Make sure the clothing is ironed, neat, and clean. Keep jewelry simple and try not to wear heavy perfume or cologne. This sometimes bothers individuals and will prevent distracting the interview team. If you are not sure what appropriate attire is for the particular company, you can scope out the company’s marketing material on youTube or their website. Sometimes, a company’s marketing material will show video from inside the company and you can see employees in the background. When in doubt though, dress up a level.
4. Bring a Copy of your Resume
Yes, the interviewer may have a copy of your resume but it’s always a good idea to bring multiple copies. This shows an employer that you are prepared. There may also be more than one individual interviewing you and this may be a good way to reference or highlight some of the content you added that they have not seen. Bring at least 5 copies of your resume.
5. Entering the Door
The interview starts when you walk in the door. Be nice and professional to everyone you encounter. The hiring team may inquire with others (including a receptionist) about how you interacted with them while waiting for the interview team. You tone, body language, eye contact, and demeanor are all things that may be observed. In addition, turn your phone on vibrate or even better turn it off. All of these factors can play a role in getting your dream job and can pave the way to making positive impact on the hiring team.
6. Watch your Body Language
First impressions are key in winning over the interview team and your body language plays an important role in this whole process. Your handshake will be the first impression, use a firm shake and look the person in the eye; make sure your hand shake is not limp or bone crushing. Once seated your posture and sitting position are also important, sit straight, lean forward a little to appear engaged, and try not to cross your arms during the interview, preventing the appearance of boredom. Eye contact and fidgeting should be monitored as well. It is ok to be nervous, but try to beware of how your body language can be perceived.
7. Tell your Story
Most interviewers ask, “Tell me a little about yourself” at the beginning of the interview. The interviewer wants a quick overview of your work history. If multiple people are interviewing you, remember that these individuals may not have looked at your resume yet. Keep it simple, professional, and relevant to the job you are applying for. Do not state personal information unless you find it relevant to the job.
8. Prepare for the Questions
You can prepare for some common interview questions in advance. Common questions general center around common themes such as your weaknesses and strengths, why you should be hired over other candidates, where do you see yourself in 5 years, your best professional achievement, how others would describe you, a workplace difficult situation and how you handled it, and how do you prioritize your work. You can also research common questions asked in the field you are applying in as wel.
Employers also want to know that you are able to solve problems and can handle conflicts when they occur. You may get a question on how you handled a workplace problem and how you resolved it. This allows an employer to assess your communication skills, critical thinking, and how you work under pressure. Employers want individuals that can keep a level head on their shoulders while remaining productive and be solution-oriented. During your preparation, think of examples that include these characteristics.
At the end of an interview, candidates are often asked if they have any questions. Some candidates may use this opportunity to ask when they may hear back or the schedule etc. However, if you have a recruiter you have been in contact with or those questions were answered prior to the interview, don’t ask them. You can always tell the interviewers that your recruiter has been thorough in answering questions about timeline and schedule. Then, ask a question that you truly would like the answer to, but would be impressive.
9. Be Positive
Never speak negative of past experiences, employers, or company policies during an interview, even if they are legit comments. An employer does not want a complainer. You also do not want to give the impression that when you leave their company, you’ll speak of them in a negative way either. During the interview, it may seem like the interviewee is looking for past negative experiences. Answer the questions without speaking ill of a previous experience. Always focus on a positive aspect when possible.
10. Sell Yourself
Finally, try to gain the names of your interviewers so you can follow up with a thank you email after the interview. You can often discover their email address by looking at the formatting of any other email from someone else at the company. For instance, the recruiter’s email may be their first initial, followed by their last name, and the company: firstname.lastname@example.org.