6 Tips to Make a Great Impression in an Interview
You’ve written and re-written that resume. That career-making job has been applied for. You’ve maybe even made it through an initial questionnaire or preliminary screening phone call with HR. Today’s finally the big day; it’s time to interview.
With so much riding on an hour or two of critical interaction with your potential new employer, it’s easy to see how interviews can seem like a daunting experience. We’ve got you covered, though, with a few great tips to help you ace that interview and land the gig of your dreams:
Preparation is Key
While winging it may have worked for that college history exam, it’s going to take a little more thought and effort to score big in the competitive career market. Spend some time researching your future employer to ensure your interview answers are relevant and in line with the company message and values. The employer’s website as well as a quick perusal of readily available online news is all you need to give yourself a solid framework for success.
Dress for Success
As the saying goes, the interview begins the moment you enter the room. Making that great first impression begins with a neat, tidy and well groomed appearance. When it comes to clothes, there’s no need to raid the designer racks, either. A conservative, clean and unwrinkled that fits the work environment, along with good personal hygiene, will speak volumes before you utter a single word.
Watch the Clock
You know how annoyed you get when your friends keep you waiting for that Friday night dinner date? Take that and multiply it times a thousand and that’s the level of frustration your potential employer will have if you are running late to the interview. Tardiness in your initial interactions with an employer doesn’t bode well for your ability to show up to work on time. Leave early and don’t be afraid to arrive at the interview with time to spare to show you’re really serious.
Leave the Nerves at the Door
While some level of nervousness is to be expected, candidates that ace their interviews rarely let their discomfort show. Use a firm handshake, make plenty of appropriate eye contact and keep those shoulders back and straight. A little bit of practice with family or friends can also help dispel any last minute, interview stage-fright. Be confident in your background and knowledge and always remember that they picked your resume out of the job applicant pile.
Be Prepared with Questions
Most interviews typically end with the dreaded “do you have any questions for me” scenario. While some interviewees may be in a hurry to mumble no and be out the door, having intelligent and thoughtful questions ready will score you big points towards landing the job. While your questions should be job specific, consider a few of these as starting off places for a great interview discussion:
- Can you describe what a normal day in my position would be like?
- How is the office culture?
- Can you tell me anything about my potential future co-workers?
Mind Your Manners
When it comes to post-interview etiquette, remember your mother’s sage advice when it comes to thanking your employer. Sending a follow up thank you the day after the interview is a great way to keep your name fresh in the interviewer’s mind. While mailed letters used to be the go-to route, emailed thank yous are now the norm and should be sent to everyone you met with, including the HR contact.
We hope our dose of interview knowledge has helped calm your nerves and prepare you for your big day. Whether an entry level position or a management role, following our universal advice will go a long way to helping you score that job or career of your dreams.
Updated July 12, 2017