The interview process can be nerve-wrecking. After applying to several jobs you may be qualified for, following up with hiring managers and waiting to hear back about a potential interview can feel like it’s taking “forever.” However, when you finally do get the call back for an interview, this simple guide will help you to walk and talk with confidence in-person
1 Dress to impress
Your appearance says a lot about you at an interview. Often, the first thing a potential employer gets to know about you is your tone of voice, via an initial phone interview. What comes next is how you personally present yourself in professional situations, meeting at the prospective employer’s offices for an in-person interview. Dressing in formal or semiformal business attire is encouraged, but you should also feel comfortable in your ensemble. Achieving that balance is essential. A well-groomed look is a sign of self-respect. Employers will picture how you represent the company by the way you present yourself.
2 Be early, but not too early
First thing’s first — don’t be late. Being too early also can an inconvenience for the company, however. The earliest you should arrive to your interview is 15 to 20 minutes. Your prospective employer has planned for you to be there at a specific time, so keep in mind that arriving within that appropriate time frame is a sign of respect and acknowledgment of their own processes and busy schedules.
3 Remember, your interview starts with the receptionist
Your interview doesn’t start when your potential new boss or HR manager walks through the door. It all starts with how you greet the receptionist. Maintain a confident, professional tone of voice when you make your presence known. Follow through with a firm handshake when possible.
4 Bring your paper resume
Bring at least two copies of your resume to the in-person job interview and any professional work samples that may apply to the job you’re interviewing for. This job interview is a chance for you to show your skills, experiences and value to the company. Prepare any presentations that may be helpful in exemplifying this according to previous phone discussions you’ve had with your prospective employer. Preparation will go a long way.
5 Do your research about the company
Come equipped with a knowledge about the company. Access to information is readily available nowadays, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a working knowledge about the company’s recent history, workings and even its staff structure. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel during your job interview. A working knowledge of the company makes for a standout individual in the application and hiring process for prospective employers. Don’t deny the power of information when it’s right at your fingertips.
6 Prepare relevant questions
The interview process is a two-way street. The employer isn’t the only one finding out if you are the best fit for the company. You should also be finding out if the company is the best fit for you. There are many things you can ask, but some of the best are: the job responsibilities, a typical day at work, the company’s management style, potential for moving up or how soon the company would want you to start if you were offered the job.
7 Be yourself
Be your professional self, but be yourself. Don’t put on a show trying to impress the employer by being someone you aren’t. Impress them with the person you are. Be honest about your skills, passions and experiences. Interviewers will take notice of your personality. If you’ve made it to an in-person interview, they see you are capable at some capacity. Be confident in that assurance.
8 Send a thank you note after the interview
A personal touch on the interview and hiring process goes a long way. Regardless of whether you feel the interview went “well,” it’s important to follow up at least a day after your interview via email or a traditional letter. Thank the interviewer for their time, the opportunity and reflect upon small anecdotes from the meeting. Keep it brief, but genuine. Thank you notes are a sign of appreciation to prospective employers. Leave a great lasting impression with a thank you note.
9 Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the job
Every step you take in applying for jobs is a step forward, regardless of whether you get the gig. If this one isn’t right for one or both parties, there will be a better, more fitting opportunity out there for you. Collect business cards and network along the way. Making connections is terribly important. It may take weeks or months to find a new opportunity, but as long as you persist with your passion and commitment, you will find your next great role. Value every interview you take as a learning experience. Become comfortable with the process.
Whether or not you are hired is not a reflection of your personality. Don’t take it personally or feel you’ve failed when you don’t get a job. Always see it as an opportunity to explore new ventures and companies. The right job is out there. Keep your head up, and when you do get the job, a big congratulations to you!