Do You Know How to ROCK a Job Interview?
I’ve been to a lot of job interviews. I’ve been interviewed for jobs, and I’ve interviewed other people for jobs. Use these tips to help make yourself stand out against the other people who apply. After all, what is the purpose of a job interview? To show that you’re the best candidate for the position!
The first thing you can to do to impress your interviewer is to arrive early. I don’t mean 30 minutes to an hour early, just 10 minutes or so. This shows the interviewer that you respect his or her time, and it also gives you a chance to get a feel for the atmosphere of the company. Are the people friendly? Did anyone speak to you while you were waiting? What types of interactions did you observe between the other people in the office? These all give clues about the culture and atmosphere of a company, and those are very important factors.
- Imagine this: you are waiting for your interview, and while sitting in the lobby you observe two coworkers arguing and cursing at each other in the hall. After about 5 minutes, they each go into separate offices and loudly close their doors.
- Now imagine this: while waiting for your interview, you observe two coworkers walking out of an office talking about lunch plans. As they walk toward you, they introduce themselves and welcome you to the company. They tell you it’s a great place to work and ask if you have any questions for them. Then they leave together to get lunch.
Which of these scenarios would give you a better impression? I’ve witnessed both and I can tell you, the second one made me feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of working there.
Dress the Part
Make sure you are dressed professionally. This means wearing dress pants, a nice shirt, and dress shoes. Some things should never be worn to an interview, including: t-shirts, jeans, sweat pants, hoodies, flip flops, and tennis shoes. And yes, this is for all interviews.
Shortly after my boyfriend and I got together, he had an interview with a security company. Most people in the security industry are very informal, and a lot of people wear jeans and tennis shoes to security interviews. I said to him, “If you wear jeans and everyone else wears jeans, how will you stand out?”
Looking like everyone else doesn’t make you memorable. You don’t want the interviewer looking back through the pile of resumes and saying, “Who was this person again?” You want them to say, “Oh this person was great!”
Do you have questions about how to dress for an interview? Leave your question in the comments if I didn’t cover it!
Always take 2 copies of your resume, and 2 copies of your cover letter. It is very common to have more than one interviewer these days, and most people don’t know this tip! If you are the only applicant who brought each interviewer his or her own copy of your resume, you’re going to stand out.
I’ve used this trick several times and guess what: I’ve always gotten the job. I’m not saying that this was the deciding factor, but it definitely made me memorable to my interviewers.
What if you know you’re only going to have one interviewer, and you already e-mailed your resume and cover letter? Still take hard copies. What if the interviewer forgot to print them out and wants to review them again during the interview? What if he or she couldn’t open the attachment?
Even if the interviewer doesn’t end up needing the hard copy, it still makes you memorable if you point out that you brought one just in case.
Protect Your Resume and Cover Letter
Invest in some clear report covers to protect your resume and cover letter while on the way to the interview. Your resume might slide off the seat of your car and end up in a spill that you didn’t know was on the floor, there might be rain and the ink could run, there might be a bird flying above you that’s about to relieve itself… all of these are good reasons to use a protective cover for your documents. You don’t have to give the cover to the interviewer; just take the documents out before handing them over.
This makes you stand out against everyone who doesn’t use a cover and encounters the unfortunate situations above (trust me, I’ve been there for most of them). It also makes you look more professional and organized because you thought to protect the quality of your credentials.
Shake Hands With the Janitor
Always offer your hand to your interviewer as well as anyone else you meet at the company- even the janitor. This does two things:
- It makes you stand out as a professional
- It shows that you don’t treat people differently based on their position
Don’t Be Nervous
An interview is just a conversation. I know this is a hard one, but once you remember that you’re just talking to someone it gets a lot easier. Practice doing mock interviews with friends or family members, it might help you feel more comfortable.
When you feel nervous, you look nervous. You might sweat, you might breathe heavier, and you might have trouble speaking. Practicing can help you relax and be more prepared for the conversation.
Try to avoid complaining about your last job, your last boss, or your home life. The purpose of the interview is to sell yourself, and negativity doesn’t sell.
Do you have difficultly answering questions about previous jobs without being negative? Read my Staying Positive post.
Always prepare questions before you go. You can ask about the job duties, about the culture, about the facilities, etc. Asking questions shows the interviewer that you are serious about the opportunity and that you took the time to think it through.
However, there are questions that you should not ask in an interview. Do you know what questions to ask and which ones to avoid? If not, I would suggest checking out my post, The Right (and Wrong) Questions to Ask During an Interview.
When the interview comes to an end, be sure to thank your interviewer for his or her time. Even if you think it didn’t go well, even if you realized that it might not be right position for you, make sure you still thank them.
After all, he or she likely sifted through an entire pile of resumes and chose to interview you specifically. That alone is worth a thank you!
Shake more hands
As you leave, make sure you shake some more hands. Shake your interviewer’s hand as you get up to leave, shake the hand of the person at the front desk, etc.
Do you need tips for writing your resume and cover letter? Check out Resume Writing: 10 Tips to Make You Stand Out!
That’s it for today! These tips will help you stand out from the other applicants, impress your interviewer, and go a long way toward helping you get the job!
Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours!