Job interviews can be stressful – especially if you haven’t gone on many. Every interview requires you to present yourself professionally and sell yourself to people you have just met. This process can be confusing and nerve-racking when starting out. However, if you spend time preparing before each interview, remain calm and speak concisely throughout, pre-interview jitters will be a worry of the past.
Preparing before interviews can help you to be more relaxed and confident during them, and ultimately more successful at the interview process. To help you put your best foot forward, here is a list of 6 interview tips and tricks to help you prepare for any job interview.
1. Do your homework
Spend time before the interview researching the company. Doing so will prepare you for any questions you may be asked about your knowledge of the company and allows you to better understand their culture. Use this research to form three questions that require more than a yes or no answer to ask the person interviewing you.
Re-read the job description of the position you’re interviewing for. This will refresh your memory on the skills the company is looking for, and can help you tailor answers with examples of your experience that exemplify those skills.
2. Come prepared
Bring at least five copies of your up-to-date résumé. Even if you emailed your resume to the company, always have extra copies on hand. Bringing your own copies shows that you’re prepared and gives you the opportunity to present your most professional-looking version.
Bring an up-to-date version of your portfolio or any relevant writing samples. If you’re applying for a creative position and your portfolio is digital, bring a device that can showcase it professionally (with or without internet connection). If your portfolio is physical, bring it in a professional and easy to navigate folder. If bringing a physical portfolio, you may also want to consider bringing copies to leave behind as well.
3. Be on time and appropriately dressed
Nothing makes a worst first impression than being late. Not only does this make you seem unprofessional, but it also gives the idea that you do not care about the position enough to be on time. Make sure you arrive to an interview at least 10 minutes early and ask for the person interviewing you by name. This shows that you are punctual and professional.
Business attire is expected in all interviews unless you are told otherwise. This means no jeans, no sneakers and no bedhead. Take the time to pick out an outfit that showcases who you are as a professional and that makes you feel confident. Suits, dress pants and collared shirts are popular and appropriate interview attire.
4. Be honest and humble
Lying about your abilities in an interview will only bring you trouble down the road. Be honest about your abilities and experience when asked about them. Answering questions in a boastful manner is off-putting and gives the impression that you’re not a team player.
While staying humble is important, make sure you are not selling yourself short in the process. If you have an accomplishment that you are proud of, present it in a way that highlights your abilities to meet the jobs’ qualifications.
5. Sell yourself
This is the most important part of the interview. Companies are looking for individuals who are able to answer questions with specific examples of their experiences. Doing this shows interviewers that you are qualified for the position and are able to draw on your past experiences to accomplish tasks.
Answering questions with generic answers will not leave a lasting impression. Shape answers to highlight your strengths, experiences and abilities.
6. Send a thank you note
There is no better way to make a lasting impression than by sending a thank-you note. This can be in the form of a politely worded email or a handwritten note. If handwritten, the note should be mailed out the day of or the day following the interview. If you choose to send an email, it should be sent a couple hours (before the end of the business day) after the interview, or the following day.
While email thank-you notes are most common, sending a physical card will make you stand out from other interviewees. A thank-you note should be sent to every person who interviewed you, and should thank him or her for taking the time to meet with you. These notes are crucial, as they are your last opportunity to express interest in the position and make a lasting professional impression.
One of the best ways to make a good first impression with your potential employer is to appear professional and confident while being interviewed. While there are no foolproof methods to acing every interview, hopefully using these tips will alleviate some of the pressure of interviewing and help you feel more confident.