I had the fantastic opportunity today to interview some local high school students for a mock-interview project. I had such an awesome time. These kids were amazing! One of the students even took the time to go on LinkedIn and research the company and interviewer. That absolutely blew me away! Most real-life applicants don’t even take the time to do that. Needless to say, that student would have been hired on the spot simply a little bit of work that she had done before she even walked into the door. Below is a list of some simple yet effective ways to score points before you even start talking with the interviewer.
10 ways that you can nail the interview before you even sit down!
- Practice makes perfect! Have mock interviews with friends and family members. You may feel silly but it will help you become more familiar with the process and gather honest feedback.
- Check out Glassdoor and look at their Interview Section. You can search for the role and company that you are interviewing for and it will provide you with a listing of commonly used interview questions. If the specific company or job is not listed, search for something similar.
- Search for common interview questions & Practice your responses. Make sure that you are prepared to answer these questions and have specific scenarios to support your answers. Rehearse your responses out loud as many times as you possibly can. Practice in the car, in the shower, when taking a walk, etc.
- Research the company & interviewer. Research as much as you can about the company and the interviewer. Check out the company website and their social media sites. Search for the interviewer on LinkedIn. Check for any mutual connections that you can reference in the interview to help form a connection. Does the company have any accomplishments or awards? Do they have any causes that they are passionate about? Don’t just look at the company website, dig deeper!
- Become familiar with the location. If you are not familiar with the interview location, make sure that you scout it out a few days before the interview. Try to drive there the same time of day that you would for your interview so you can get a feel for traffic.
- On the day of the interview, arrive 1-2 hours early. Sit in your car or a nearby coffee shop to gather your thoughts and do some last minute interview prep. The worst thing you can do is cut it too close! Murphy’s Law is sure to take over and throw off your entire game. You want to walk into the interview cool, calm, and collected. Not rushing through the lobby trying to make it on time.
- Arrive at the interview location 10 minutes early. Not a minute earlier or a minute later. The reason for this is if you arrive too early you run the risk of annoying the interviewer. I have had candidates show up 45 minutes before the interview. For one, it is awkward (especially if you have an open office layout and you can see each other). In addition, I just feel rushed when I know someone is waiting for me so it completely throws off my focus. On the flip side, you never want to be there later than 5 minutes before. Any later than that and you might as well be late. I’m difficult to please, I know.
- Dress Professionally. Outfits matter and details matter. Always wear a suit, always. Even if you are interviewing to flip burgers at the local fast-food restaurant, if you wear a suit people will notice and take you seriously. While we are at it, make sure it is pressed and neat. Wear nice polished shoes (with socks. You laugh, but I have actually had candidates come in with dress shoes and no socks), minimal jewelry. make sure your nails are well manicured, all of that. To sum this one up, people pay attention to the details! Check out Darling CEO’s Work Attire Pinterest Board for more fashion & appearance tips!
- Bring a resume with you. Make sure it is printed on a nice resume paper and bonus points if it is in some type of fancy folder. Presentation matters! Also make sure to give it to the interview, don’t wait for them to ask.
- Strong Introduction– Smile, offer a firm handshake, thank them for the opportunity to speak with them, etc. All pretty basic stuff, but sometimes it is the basics that are overlooked when nerves take over.
Your first impression is your most critical impression. A little preparation goes a long way. Nail these 10 tips and you will be well on your way to nailing your dream job!
What other interview tips do you have? What are your interview horror stories? Please drop a comment below.
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