Have you ever wished you could get a redo on a job interview?
Maybe you took a little too long to answer the standard “why should we hire you?” question, or maybe you stammered and fumbled your way through questions you didn’t know how to answer.
Or worse, maybe you gave the interviewer a hug…and they aren’t a hugging kind of person. (That happens.)
The truth is that job interviews can be scary, especially if you have a lot riding on them.
The good news is, with some preparation, general rules of thumb and the following tips from hiring managers here at The Lee Group, you should ace that interview.
What Not To Do
Before getting into tips and tricks, let’s first discuss a few things you should not do during an interview.
- Don’t invade the personal space of the interviewer. Hiring managers say firm handshakes go a long way. Anything more than that, and well, it has the potential to just become awkward.
- Come to the interview uninformed. Showing up to an interview with no knowledge of the company or position shows you’re either lazy or just not interested
- Don’t be phony. This is also called the “shiny car syndrome.” A good interviewer can pick up on phoniness immediately. While it’s great to smile and nod, too much smiling and nodding comes across as fake. Be authentic!
- Don’t talk about how your current or previous boss in a negative way. In general, avoid all victim language
- Don’t be late to the interview – duh!
- Don’t talk too much. Engage in dialogue with the interviewer but don’t control the conversation or talk over him or her. Make sure you are actively listening.
Ace the Interview
Now that you know of some things to avoid, here are some tips to help!
Stand Out in a Good Way
Most hiring managers interview a lot of people. So many that they generally have to go back to their notes to remember candidates–the exception being candidates with a strong hook. Sometimes these hooks are how people dress or their personality, but the best hook is a strong story that’s work-related. When you can wow an interviewer with a memorable story that shows what a strong candidate you are, you’ll rise to the top of the list.
Knowledge is Power
An employer will expect you to know something about the company, and expect you to know why you will fit in well there. You need to be prepared to answer the questions, “What do you know about our company“? and “Why do you want to work here?”
Knowing as much as possible about the company’s past performance and future plans can also help you better explain how you can add value to the company.
Before the interview, review the company’s website, particularly their “About Us” section. Also check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social pages to see what information the company is sharing. Review Glassdoor reviews, salaries, and interviewing information.
Practice Makes Perfect
Conduct practice interviews with a friend or a family member, and ask for their feedback. You can also record your responses so you can review your answers and check your body language. Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions. Doing so will help you analyze your background and qualifications for the position. You don’t need to memorize answers, but having an idea of what you’re going to say will help you frame a solid response.
Dress for Interview Success
You will want to decide what to wear before the interview day. Your first impression is very important, and what you wear is a big part of that first impression. So, no tank tops or flip flops! You want to make sure you look professional and appropriate for the work environment. If you are unsure about what to wear, email or call the person who scheduled the interview and ask about the typical dress code. It is always a good idea to dress just a little bit more professionally than the dress code requires.
Remember that it’s not only the hiring manager who makes the decision on who to hire. Be polite and gracious to everyone you meet from the time you walk in the door to when you leave. The people you meet could be your future co-workers, so make the best impression on them that you can.
When you arrive, introduce yourself to the receptionist. Make sure you know the interviewer’s name and use it as soon as possible during the interview. If you’re not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview.
If you can’t relax during your interview, then nothing you do to prepare will matter. Being yourself is essential to the selection process, and interviewers will feel it if you’re too nervous. Showing fear or anxiety appears weak compared to a relaxed smile and genuine confidence.