by Rebecca Pesavento
Let’s be honest – there are very few people that can genuinely say they get excited about job interviews. You do get butterflies, but they’re not typically those “pre first date jitters”. You may be excited about a potential opportunity, but the idea of dressing up, doing extensive interview preparation and still appearing composed and confident is truly frightening to some. Take a look at these 7 pointers to help ace your next interview and put your best foot forward.
1) Do your homework
This goes for knowledge of the organization, the position, and of course, the interviewers. Be sure you have a solid understanding of the position’s responsibilities and if you need clarification, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Don’t forget to do your research on your interviewers, as well. A quick LinkedIn search can go a long way. Maybe through your research, you find out that your interviewer is a Butler alum and so are you. This is a great way to create a common ground and help you stand out against other candidates.
2) Never underestimate the power of a suit
Even if the company is known for their Monday-Friday jeans and t-shirt attire and have bean bags scattered across their office, it doesn’t mean you go into your interview with the same mentality. Dressing business professional is key to showing your potential employer that you are serious about the job and can suit up when need be. And surprisingly, wearing a suit can really boost your confidence factor, too!
3) Be courteous to everyone you meet during all of your interactions
Remember the doorman or receptionist that you blew off when you walked in? That’s a big mistake. You never know how everyone is connected. You may have done a killer job during your interview but the second you were unprofessional to someone who had seemingly no part of the process, you may have ruined your chances with a great organization. Not only that, but let’s say your best friend calls you right before your interview to talk about her wild weekend. Probably not the best time to talk about a crazy night where she stayed out until 4 AM and ended her night at McDonald’s. You never know who’s listening. Your interviewer may not walk by at the wrong moment but who knows if another employee isn’t standing within an earshot. Be cautious of your etiquette even before entering the building.
4) A firm handshake
This might go without saying but a firm handshake makes a great first impression. And a weak, limp handshake shows lack of confidence and nobody wants that! It should be noted that breaking someone’s wrist while greeting is also not advised. A happy medium can very much exist.
5) Play it cool
It’s very easy to become fidgety (play with your hands, your hair, rub your neck) when you’re nervous. Indirect body language is something that an interviewer notices, that you might not recognize yourself. Here’s an idea to rectify this issue: try filming yourself and a friend in a mock interview (this can be good for practice in general). You’ll see your body language firsthand and hopefully correct anything that could be considered negative by the interviewer.
6) Ask questions
You should always ask the normal “What’s your favorite part about working here?” or “What is your organization’s training program like?” but try taking this a step further and think outside of the box. Ask questions that an interviewer wouldn’t expect and would show them that there’s more to you than what meets the eye. Asking position or company specific questions can show that you’ve done your due diligence and are knowledgeable about the organization and this particular role.
A thank you email is pretty much a standard post interview practice. Why not take it a step further and send a hand written thank you card? If you don’t mind spending a few dollars on postage and a nice piece of stationary, do it. It will be worth your while. Very rarely do interviewers forget about the candidates that went above and beyond by taking this step. It goes a long way, believe me.
By following these 7 tips, a job isn’t guaranteed but it will sure help your cause, boost that confidence factor and get you a step closer to accepting that dream job with an amazing company. Oh, and don’t forget to relax. You’ve already proven yourself to be a viable candidate by your resume and any initial phone conversations. Now it’s time to really “wow” them. Go out there and show them who you are and why you are their ideal candidate!