Congrats, you’ve gotten through the resume and cover letter. Now comes the fun part: meeting your potential employer. Below are interview tips from local employers to help you land your dream job!
1. Research the employer
Set up camp in a coffee shop for a couple hours to thoroughly research the company before your interview. Read through their website, look up what people are saying about the company online, and check out the top searches on Google.
It’s always a good idea to be well informed about the public perception of a company, including both positive and negative press.
2. Show up!
Sounds obvious, but if you have an interview, show up for it. If you can’t make it, let the employer know.
3. Be on time
If you often run late, take this into account when planning to leave for your interview. You never want the interviewer waiting on you. That gives a bad first impression. Show up a few minutes early, never late.
4. Pamper yourself
Get a fresh haircut, shine your shoes, look for loose hems, or buy yourself a new outfit. It may sound silly, but do whatever you can to give yourself more confidence for your interview.
5. Get a good night’s rest
One of the best things you can do for your job interview is to get a good night’s rest the day before. Nothing beats waking up feeling energized, clear-headed, and ready to get a new job!
6. Schedule strategically
Schedule your interview when you will be alert, cheerful, and prepared. Not a morning person? Shoot for an afternoon or evening appointment. Do you get grumpy when you’re hungry? Schedule your interview right after breakfast or lunch.
7. Exercise before the interview
Most people will feel butterflies in their stomach before a big interview. Combat this anxiety with a quick cardio session. Don’t have time for a full-blown workout? Take a walk around the block before your interview to get your blood moving!
8. Skip the coffee (if you can!)
Before the coffee-lovers riot, hear us out. Coffee is diuretic: it'll give you a dry mouth. Try eating an apple with water to give yourself fresh breath and a strong voice for your interview.
9. Power pose
Boost your self-confidence by standing like Wonder Woman for a couple of minutes before your interview. It may sound silly, but it’s scientifically proven to lower your stress and raise your confidence if you stand in a power pose for at least two minutes. Try it out!
10. Study the job description
Get a good idea of the kind of person your prospective employer wants to hire by reading the job description multiple times. Speak to your qualifications during the interview. This way, you will portray yourself as the ideal candidate!
11. Be prepared
Good news... some interview questions come up all the time, so you can prepare for them. Be ready to share stories about times when you performed well under pressure, were part of a team, managed a process and/or people, supported customers, did something well, made a mistake, etc.
12. Clean up!
Clean out your bags and pockets of loose change, trash, or anything else that will distract you.
13. Make a good first impression
You’ve got a few seconds to make a first impression. Give a firm (but not too firm handshake), sit up straight, mute your cell phone, wear clean clothes, and most importantly, stay relaxed.
14. Arrive solo
Don’t even think about arriving with a friend. Arriving by yourself shows you are serious about the job. Arriving with a friend is awkward for the employer because it will seem like you have more important things to do after the interview.
15. The 3 P’s: practice, practice, practice
It’s super hard to tell a story well the first time. So don’t try to in front of the employer. Practice with a friend as many times as you can.
16. Dress the part
Take the time to plan an outfit appropriate for the company you are interviewing with. Trying to work in an office? Dress business professional. Want to work at a boutique? Wear fashion forward apparel. Whatever the job, wear clean clothes that fit you well.
17. Prepare for backup
Let’s face it, emergencies happen. Bring a bag with extra resumes, reference sheets, pens, band-aids, breath mints, business cards, etc.
18. Take advantage of HR
If your prospective employer has an HR department, don’t be afraid to ask an HR representative about the interview format. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll be during the interview.
19. “Tell me about yourself”
Prepare a strong answer to the classic “Tell me about yourself” question. Brainstorm your most important qualities so that you communicate an accurate summary of who you are and why you’d be a great addition to this company.
20. Strengthen your weaknesses
Strategically prepare for the classic question: “What's your biggest weakness?” Select a weakness that you have actively made strides to improve upon. This will show the employer that you have grown and can take on new challenges.
Pro-tip: Be sure to avoid cliché answers like "I take on too much responsibility" or describing yourself as a perfectionist. It's an answer all employers hear over and over and won't help you stand out from your peers.
21. Don’t read a script
Instead of trying to plan out an exact response for every interview question, jot down some notes or bullet points to bring with you to the interview. This will jog your memory if you come up blank while allowing you to respond naturally.
22. Take a look in the mirror
It may sound strange, but practice your interview responses while looking in the mirror. Practicing this way will give you more confidence in the interview – and help clarify your thoughts!
23. Clean up your social media presence
Take a quick sweep through your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and your other social media accounts before you go in for an interview.
Ask yourself – would I hire this person based on your social media profiles? While personal preferences and style to be celebrated, remember to keep things professional in an interview setting.
24. Carry your kindness everywhere
You never know who you are talking to on the way to your interview. Treat everyone kindly, especially your potential co-workers in the office. A slip of the tongue or rude side glance could ruin your chances of getting hired.
25. Body language matters
Poor body language is the silent killer of interviews. Sit up straight, make eye contact, smile, actively listen, and nod in response to your interviewer.
Avoid the following at all costs: slouching, staring off into space, fidgeting in your chair, touching your face, and chewing gum.
26. Know your history
Reflect on your career chronology to date before you go into the interview. Knowing your storyline will make it easy to give specific examples within your interview responses.
27. Choose your space filler phrase
Don’t make the common mistake of filling awkward silences with “um…” or “well, like…” Instead, choose a phrase to say while you come up with an answer. A good example is, “What a great question!”
28. Stay positive
Positivity is contagious and will make your interview much more successful. Bring a sense of humor and smile to the interview. Avoid badmouthing past employers as it will create a negative tone.
29. Spark a conversation
The less an interview feels like an interview, the better. Engage the employer in conversation by building upon topics presented by the interviewer and asking great questions. Believe it or not, many interviewers want to talk about themselves!
30. Ask thoughtful questions
Great questions show you’ve done your homework but are still thirsty to learn more. Come with a few great questions and be prepared to create new questions using what you learned from the interview.
31. Numbers are your friend
Percentages, quotas, numbers, or stats enhance your past work experience. This will also give your prospective employer a great idea of your success as an employee.
32. Talk through analytical questions
If your interviewer asks a question that takes some brain power to answer, share your thought process. This will show your interviewer how you think. It will also help you stay organized when trying to answer the question.
33. Ask double-sided questions
Opt to ask a question that will show genuine interest in the company while giving more information about yourself. If you haven’t had the chance, sneak in any accomplishments or passions that align with the company.
34. Establish a connection
Try to get your interviewer to talk about anything but the interview when you first meet them. This can help you stand out from the crowd and build your rapport in the company.
35. Monkey see, monkey do
Imitate your interviewer’s pitch, tone, body language posture, orientation, or demeanor. Don’t go overboard and copy everything they do, but imitating a couple things will establish an aura of cohesion.
36. Follow up before you leave
Whatever you do, don’t leave the interview open-ended. Be direct and ask about the next steps following this interview. This will show the company that you are serious about the job. It will also give you a clear idea about when the company will make a hiring decision.
Let your interviewer know about your connections to people within the company. Bring up specific insights you have about the company from your networking activities. This will show your commitment to the company and make you stand out from other job applicants.
38. Collect names + follow up
Meet as many people as possible while at your interview. This will show the employer that you’ll be a great cultural fit. Follow up with everyone you met to thank them for the opportunity to interview.
39. You’re almost done
Everyone’s time is precious. Within the first 24 hours after the interview, send a thank you note to the employer thanking the person for his/her time. In your note, mention something that came up in the interview. This will make you stand out from other candidates.
40. Closing statement
Your interview will likely be filled with both high and low points. Close on a good note by reminding the employer how excited you are about the job and why you are a great fit.