When it comes to the interview stage, you can never be too prepared. If you walk out of an interview thinking it felt easy and comfortable, then that is a successful meeting.
Walking out feeling flustered or frustrated certainly will not bode well for your job prospects. The more prepared you are for this big meeting; the more likely it is you will feel confident and calm throughout the process. While primary preparation tips might be more obvious, there are also other considerations when it comes to the interview itself and making sure you leave a good impression.
Take these steps ahead of time and in the moment in order to put your best foot forward in an effort to get this job. Above all, try to remain calm and relaxed during your interview so you can show who you truly are and what you offer to the company, while learning more about the role and the company’s goals to ensure it is the right fit for you. As with all professional meetings, remember your body language and your word choice and make sure you present yourself as a true professional. You want to appear ready to walk into this role, while still presenting yourself honestly and openly.
As the saying goes: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Whatever role it is you are applying for, you need to dress to impress. If that means going out to buy a new suit or new shoes before the interview, then it is a worthwhile investment in yourself and in your future. Plan your interview outfit ahead of time so you have no last-minute concerns. Make sure you look as polished as possible so as to avoid distracting your interviewer or leaving a bad impression at all. Dry clean your suit, press your shirt and make sure your shoes are spotless. If need be, schedule a haircut, hot shave or manicure before your interview to look and feel your best. Whatever you end up deciding to wear, make sure your outfit is ready in advance so you can eliminate one extra stress on the day of your meeting. Get ready and leave early so you do not have to rush at all.
Before you head into the interview, make sure you do a sweep of your social media accounts and your digital footprint to ensure you have nothing unprofessional clearly displayed on your profiles. Make your accounts private if you want to do so or at least review what can be seen by the public and try to minimize any inappropriate issues. Google yourself to see what comes up; if there are inappropriate posts or references popping up, know that an interviewer can also see those and might judge accordingly.
You can and should do this review during your job application process; at the very least, take a look before you go in for an interview. Remember that your interview will be to evaluate you professionally as well as personally. Interviewers want to make sure you will fit into the company culture and work well with current staff and clients or partners. Your personal life can impact your professional life, so make sure you make the best impression from the start.
While there are many types of interviews that you might experience, a behavioral interview is gaining momentum as interviewers try to determine how you will fit into the role and the company. They know how you look on paper, which is how you got the interview in the first place. Many interview questions will help interviewers see how you behave and how that might impact your work or coworkers.
Think back through past experiences to find stories that reflect various situations, including highs and lows that you can describe in their best light. However, remember to be honest throughout your interview; if you are not the right fit for the job, it will not be good for the company or for you. This self-evaluation can help you to think through past scenarios to see where you have succeeded and where you could use some work in your office interactions and job performance, so it is a good idea to take the time you need to thoroughly think through these behavioral situations.
Make yourself a cheat sheet to bring to the interview and have on hand for reference. It can be easy to get flustered in the moment during an interview when questions are being asked and you need to think on your feet. Take plenty of time during your interview preparation to make yourself a cheat sheet that is legible and thorough enough for you to reference for any questions.
Your cheat sheet should include highlights from any previous jobs or education that you can call upon to answer questions or to ask them, which might include accomplishments or projects that you can easily explain with just a quick reference from your cheat sheet.
It should also include reminders of special events or circumstances that will trigger a memory that can answer those behavioral types of interview question, including situations when you excelled or failed in interactions with coworkers or clients. Do not hesitate to include personal situations if your work history is a little sparse. In fact, personal insights can be good to include if they highlight additional benefits you bring to work, showing passion projects and personal causes you care about. With these notes, you can even include questions to ask the interviewer when it is your turn to get any more information about the company and position.
Always send a thank you note to everyone who interviewed you. This shows you paid attention when meeting each of them, it shows your interest in working with each of them individually and it highlights your desire for the job. Include specifics about the actual interview conversation to remind them of what you discussed. You can also use this thank you note as an opportunity to further highlight anything you discussed, offering links to websites or articles or other references that highlight some of your work or interests.
You should send these thank you notes by email within 24 hours of the meeting. If you cannot locate email addresses for everyone who interviewed you, you can ask for contacts from the main reception for the company or from any of the interviewers whose email address you do have.