Interviewing is, well… Stressful!
If you’re anything like me, a million questions are going through your mind before that meeting…
“Am I dressed appropriately?”
“Will they like my style of communication?”
“Did I talk about everything I needed to say in the last interview?”
And the ever-fatal post-interview feeling of… “I wonder if they liked me?”
Don’t worry, we all go through it (even Recruiters interviewing for a new job).
No one is absolutely perfect, but there are certain things you can do to be a close as possible to perfect!
Here are my 10 tips to help you be the most effective you during your interviews…
Most people seem to know this, but you’d be surprised how many people take it for granted. Make sure you look clean and pressed when going for an in-person interview. Personally, I tend to get distracted by someone with an inordinately wrinkly outfit. It comes off as rushed, like they did not prepare and makes me wonder if they just threw together their outfit from their room floor. If the interview is in the morning, I tend to wonder if they are not a morning person and therefore, will be late frequently. Most Hiring Managers will consciously or subconsciously feel something similar and you don’t want to be remembered for the wrinkles in your clothes.
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP I can give you. Too many candidates want to word-vomit all over their Recruiter/Hiring Manager. Meaning they talk and talk, sometime son endless tangents. As hiring folks, we understand that its important to you to show off how amazing you are. We know already and that’s why your there in the interview in the first place. Candidates who are contentious in their communication, respond directly to questions and demonstrate patterns of clear thought always come across are the most qualified (and in the future, would likely be the most effective to work with). So instead of word-vomiting all over your interviewer, answer the question directly and then stop to listen. It will go so much further than any tangent or loosely connected thoughts you may want to express.
Being prepared is your biggest asset (along with the qualifications you bring to the table) that you can have! Research the company and your interviewer as much as you can. Think of it as detective work! You want to be able to demonstrate that you are a thorough and diligent in how you have considered their company. It will work wonders for the interviewer’s first impression of you too!
This one seems to get forgotten a lot, but its still very critical. Do some internet research prior. Take some time to study up on questions they might ask or common questions asked. If your nervous about interviewing or not sure what to say, sit in front of a mirror and practice your responses a few times. Practicing with a friend is even better!
We all love to talk about ourselves, but don’t over-do it! Before the interview, think about the attributes you would most like to share with them. Then take some time to think about how you would like to discuss these attributes. Make sure you are not going overboard in how you discuss them. Is what you are saying coming across as ‘cocky’? When in doubt, ask a friend to run the question by you and give your best response. They can help you know when its crossing that interview-killing line of cockiness vs. humbleness.
This is similar to doing your research. As you are researching the company and interviewer, think about a few (5-7) questions specifically about the company or them that digs a little deeper into the company culture, team orientation, working style, etc. This will speak volumes for the impression you leave on them!
You could be the most qualified candidate they are reviewing, but if you come across as desperate, you will kill the interview (and not kill in a good way). No matter the situation you are coming from, your interviewer doesn’t want to see that. What they do want to see however is your interest in the role. There is a fine line though and if you cross it into the lost world of desperate job-seeker souls, you will be forever stuck there. Keep your cool. Know that (at least at this point) they want you as much as you want to work with them. So, work your best qualities and leave the desperate situation behind.
This happens all too often and man is it a turnoff for the potential employer. It takes very little of your time, but will help you immensely. A few days before the interview, take some time to track the route you will take to the interview. Note how long it will take you and don’t forget to account for traffic! If possible, drive the route yourself and time it. And please, please, please BE EARLY!! Late doesn’t get a second date! Arrive a little early or at the latest on time.
This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it is not. Sometimes when someone has been burned by a company or they had a negative experience, they want to trash-talk that company in the next interview. This is fatal. No matter what happened, you must find a way to talk about that employment period as positive. Focus on the things you liked about the job, your co-workers/team or the company. Saying anything negative makes you look disgruntled and (please trust me on this one) it will NEVER work in your favor.
Salary discussions can seem tricky, but here is an easy tip to help you know when its appropriate to be discussed. Do not bring up salary in the first conversation. Yes, it may be a concern of yours, but the company wants you to be interested in the job above and beyond the salary. Often times, when a candidate brings it up as a concern early on, this tells the hiring person that it is a main concern for you and will likely continue to be an issue for you later on (no bueno). It is appropriate to ask the general salary range for the role in the first conversation and it is ok to be honest if it doesn’t work for you. But don’t bring it up first thing in the interview or talk too desperately about it. Lastly, know what your worth, not what you think you deserve.
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