No matter how qualified you are, what great school you attended, or how amazing your experiences, you cannot go into a job interview and just wing it. People do not hire statistics or qualifications they hire people. They hire people they like, people who inspire them, people who impress them with potential. Use these tips to set yourself apart from the pack at your next interview.
Who is interviewing you?
Find out the name of the person interviewing you beforehand. Discover what you can about them. Check them out on LinkedIn. Google them. Have something you can say about them in conversation. While you’re at it do the same thing for the company.
Practice makes perfect
Get online and find a list of the most common interview questions and how to answer them. Once you’ve figured out what you want to say get yourself in front of a mirror and practice your answers. Take note of your facial expression. Check to see that you look relaxed and confident.
Remember they have your resume in front of them so don’t just repeat what you wrote down there. Expand with stories of how you made a difference in your previous job or at school. Provide qualitative evidence. Productivity increased by 25% during the 8 months of my leadership.
Have a few off-resume things you can throw in there to humanize you. A hobby or a volunteer initiative you partake in.
Plan your route before hand
Don’t just plan your route to the interview an hour before you’re scheduled to arrive. The day before check what traffic is usually like at that time. Ensure there aren’t any road closures. Make sure you plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.
Before starting your job search, you should absolutely Google yourself. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see then get rid of it. Make sure your online image is as professional as the person who walks in for the interview.
Make a good impression with everyone you meet
From the receptionist to anyone you meet in the hallways or elevator, smile and present your best self. You don’t know who is in charge or who has who’s ear. Plus although you always want to present your best self, it’s doubly important in interview situations.
Dress like you already have the job
Imagine yourself already in the position. How do you dress? How do you hold yourself? Embody that person. Be that person.
Prepare copies of your resume
You never know when you might need a hard copy of your resume. You might be interviewed by more than one person. The person interviewing you might only have your resume on the computer and need a hard copy. By having extra copies on hand you give the impression of a person prepared for any situation.
Turn your phone off
Of course you realize your phone should be off during the interview, but what if while waiting in the lobby scrolling through your phone you get distracted and forget to turn it off? Set a reminder to turn it off five or ten minutes before the interview starts so you don’t forget.
Listen to the questions
Prior to the interview you will have practiced answers to questions you anticipate. Once you think you know what they are going to ask you might be tempted to launch in with your amazing answer. Wait. Listen carefully to what they are asking and what they are saying. Ensure you are answering the question they are asking. If during your conversation you realize they are interested in things different from what you prepared, revise your answer accordingly. A conversation is as much about listening as speaking.
Finish with flair
No interview is over until the thank you note has been sent. Highlight something memorable from your interview, something that made you both smile or that wowed them. Reiterate your interest in the position and wait for the acceptance!