1 – Gather Your Intel
If you have connections within the business, this is the time to use them. Otherwise, it’s time to dig a bit. Find out what their dress code is like, what the overall feel of the office is, what the interview style will be like, and more. Find out as much as you can about the interview process, so you can show up looking as though you are ready to start that very day.
Do some research on the company and the hiring manager. You will want to be able to slip in pertinent details during the interview, especially during the standard, “Why do you want to work here?” question. The fact that you did research means you truly care about the position and the company. The fact that you care means you will be a better asset to the company than someone who didn’t do their homework.
2 – One Copy Won’t Cut It
It’s always great to have a copy of your resume with you to hand over at the start at the interview, but it’s even better to have multiple copies. There will be times when you will want to refer to something on the resume, and it will be awkward to share the same paper with the hiring manager. It will be far easier to keep a copy in front of you, so you can glance down at it when you feel your brain turning into a nervous mush.
Furthermore, you never know when a hiring manager will decide to bring in a few other managers for the interview process. You will want to have a copy of your resume for each of them. Stay on the safe side, and print out at least 5 copies. Make sure they are ONE PAGE.
3 – Punctuality is Critical
If you show up late for your interview, it will reflect poorly on your work ethic, overall image, and professionalism. If you are late for the chance to get the job, how does the hiring manager know you wouldn’t be late to actually perform the job?
Give yourself a cushion to work with. Leave an hour early, just in case there is a traffic jam or fashion disaster that must be immediately corrected. If you end up being more than 15 minutes early, do not just sit in the office waiting around. It makes things awkward, and makes you look pushy. Instead, go in search of a nearby coffee shop or grab a bite to eat. Just avoid onions and garlic!
4 – Be Prepared
It’s better to be overly prepared than it is to be underprepared. Always.
Bring extra copies of your resume, bring extra copies of your referral page, and bring extra personal items. Carry an extra shirt in your bag or briefcase, just in case. You never know when someone will accidentally bump into you while they are carrying coffee. It doesn’t look great to show up to an interview with a giant stain setting into your shirt.
Bring along some breath mints and floss, and slip into the bathroom just before your interview to make sure your breath is not going to offend anyone.
Make sure your watch is correct, and that your phone is fully charged. Make sure you have the correct address, and are able to correctly pronounce the name of the hiring manager.
5 – The Interviewer Is NOT Your Friend
It doesn’t matter if the interview is ridiculously casual and taking place at your local bar. It doesn’t matter how friendly the interviewer is, or how many jokes he or she may crack. The interviewer is not your friend, and you are not hanging out. You are there to sell your professional image, and convince them that you are the best shot for this position. This is not the time to tell them about how you hated your last job, how tired you are from taking care of the kids, and all about your relationship troubles. The interviewer also doesn’t need to hear about how much you drank last weekend.
The interviewer is NOT your friend.
6 – Connect on Social Media BEFORE Interviewing
Since your name will be fresh in their mind, it will be pretty obvious if you only start connecting with them on social media accounts right after the interview. It’s best to connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and elsewhere way before the interview.
This will also keep you updated on the latest company news, and you will be able to use that information to your advantage during the interview. Remember #1? This falls under research.
You will also want to send a “Thank You” email after the interview.
7 – Ask Questions!
It may be a bit daunting to ask questions of your hiring manager, but you should be asking them just as many questions as they ask you. Some great questions to ask include:
“Where do you envision the company heading in the next five years?”
“How do you feel this position fits into that plan?”
“(Company) generated $____ this past year. What is the goal for this next year, and how do you see this job position playing a part in that?”
“How do you like your coffee?”
Okay, so the last one may not really be the best question, but you get the idea.
8 – Demonstrate Your Value
Treat the interview as an opportunity to really flex your professional muscles, and show what you can come up with during stressful (Most interviews are) situations. Discuss ways in which you will be able to improve the company along the lines of what your interviewer is looking for. This will show that you have the skills and initiative that other applicants do not.
Remember, you are bursting with ideas for how to improve the company. All you need is a chance to implement them!
9 – Don’t Babble
Keep your answers succinct and to the point. If the interviewer asks you an open-ended question (They totally will), that is your chance to illustrate how well you are to perform in an unstructured situation and/or environment. Use the STAR technique to blow it out of the water:
Situation: Set the context of the story.
Task: Explain what was required of you.
Activity: Explain what you actually did.
Result: Share how the situation played out. Include figures to quantify the result, if at all possible.
Stay clear of sugar-coated answers that sound as cliché as they actually are. “I’m a workaholic” or “I care too much” are really not the best responses to the question regarding your biggest weakness.
10 – Be Mindful of Body Language
Twirling your hair, jiggling your legs, nodding too much, or fiddling with objects (bracelet, watch, shirt hem, etc.) are all types of body language that show you are nervous. They’re also really irritating.
Now that you have these tips under your belt, it’s time to blow that interview out of the water! You’ve got this!
Don’t miss out on tips to improve your productivity here: 5 Habits Unproductive People Do Not Have