Congratulations! You’ve spent hours writing cover letters and submitting your resume for jobs and now you’ve landed an interview. The very idea of heading in to meet the hiring manager can be incredibly stressful. An interview can feel like a test where you will be asked questions, and if you fail to answer correctly, you’re out. In reality, an interview should be a conversation. It’s an opportunity to show who you are and to find out more about the job and if it’s a good fit for both parties. To get ready for your next interview simply sit back, relax and take in these 15 tips for interview success.
1. Allow for plenty of time. Make sure to schedule your interview with plenty of time to spare. If you’re currently employed, you won’t want to feel the need to rush in or out.
2. Prepare for common interview questions. Although you don’t want to memorize answers, it’s a good idea to practice answering common questions so that you won’t be caught off guard.
3. Learn about the company. Be prepared to talk about why you like the company and to be familiar with what they do, especially if you want to join in.
4. Get a good night’s rest. It’s hard to sleep when you’re nervous, and it’s common to want to stay up prepping the night before. But it’s best to get yourself to bed early so that you’re well rested.
5. Dress better than you would at work. If the job requires jeans and a t-shirt, wear khakis and a polo to the interview. If it requires a button-down and slacks, wear a suit. Try not to over or under dress.
6. Eat a healthy meal or snack. You’ll feel better and avoid rumbling stomach noises, which can be distracted and send the wrong message.
7. Arrive fifteen minutes early. Don’t show up too early and definitely don’t show up late. The time you arrive sends a strong impression about the kind of punctuality that can be expected on the job, so represent yourself well.
8. Treat everyone like they’re the interviewer. From the second you park your car, be ready to be interviewed. Be especially nice to the receptionist, since the way you treat interiors can say a lot about you to your interviewer.
9. Bring several copies of your resume. Although everyone you meet will probably already have a copy, having them on hand just in case will make you seem polished and professional, and leaves a good impression.
10. Start strong. The question may be worded differently, but you’ll surely be asked to tell the interviewer a bit about yourself. Decide what message you want to send and practice it.
11. Stay on topic. Talk about yourself, professionally, and then stop. Don’t mention specifics about your personal life, and be careful what details you share. You have no idea what biases may exist, so it’s best to keep to the scope.
12. Try to remain calm. You may be nervous, but take a few deep breaths and try not to let it show. You may want to write yourself a mantra to remember you are qualified – they never would have asked you to come in if they weren’t interested in you.
13. Avoid discussing money or benefits. You’re probably curious, but don’t bring it up if they don’t. You shouldn’t be worrying about money until they’re offering you the job.
14. Be prepared with questions of your own. Interviewers want to see what you care about, but more importantly, you should find out if this job is good for you. Make a list of your important considerations beforehand so you’ll know what to ask.
15. Follow-up appropriately. Start with a thank you note. An email is great since it’s quick, but a handwritten note can sometimes be even better when you want to add a personal touch.
A job interview should be more than an audition. Although you’ll want to put your best face forward and show the interviewers what an asset you can be, this is also your opportunity to learn more about the job. Think about what you really want in a job and what you don’t want, and use this time to find out if this position fits your wants and needs. If the job is one you’d love you’ll be glad that you’ve followed these tips for interview victory.