Choosing a career path can feel daunting, but when you finally land that initial job interview despite your excitement, you might not be sure how to stand out. Your resumé is a great conversation piece, but it can only get you so far. Making a great first impression when it comes time to sit down with a hiring manager is the key. Take a few of these tips into consideration before it comes time for that first handshake.
Understanding why you want the position is one aspect of the job interview. Knowing why you want to work for the company, is a whole other task. Make sure to do your research on not only the position listed but the company as a whole, and then dot-down reasons why the company’s culture, mission, and values are the right fit for you. It’s a good idea to brainstorm how you can bring value to the company, too Looking through the company’s website and social media will help you understand your future workplace and speak intelligently when it comes time. By taking the initiative to research the company and hiring manager, you are demonstrating an eagerness to get started.
We all know that punctuation is an important aspect of any interviewing process. Arriving late can signify a carelessness and a lack of interest in the position. To avoid any inconvenience, arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early to your job interview to help set the tone while showing you’re serious about the position. If there is a receptionist, be friendly and welcoming to a conversation, they’re the first person when you walk in for a reason. Think ahead and plan your route accordingly to help better prepare yourself for any difficult weather conditions or to ease any anxiety of commuting to an unknown location.
Confidence is key in any interview setting in order to project your abilities and best represent yourself to other professionals. Prep yourself ahead of time so that you go in feeling your absolute best. Whether that is adjusting your sleep schedule to get a full eight hours of sleep or planning your breakfast the night before your big interview, making these small adjustments will help clear your mind of minor stressors and keep you alert. Addressing insecurities about your physical appearance can also make a big difference in how you present yourself. Prepping your skin with a sleeping mask to help enhance your glow or fighting hair loss with a follicle-focused medication like finasteride will not only leave you feeling good but will also help you walk in with your head a little higher so you can dominate your interview.
When preparing for your interview, your appearance might be the last thing on your preparation to-do list, but your attire can make a lasting impression. Unless told otherwise, always dress in business or professional attire. Avoid over the top pieces and bright colors, and stick to shades that are neutrals. For men, classic pieces like a button-down paired with a tie and slacks will send a positive message. For women, a blouse with dress pants or a simple suit is an easy way to look professional and polished. Regardless of the position, dressing in professional business attire is a surefire way to make a statement and be taken seriously during the interview process.
It takes your brain one-tenth of a second to form a first impression of someone. Be conscious of those first moments spent with the interviewer because it could help or hinder your interviewing process. Watch your body language, slumping or reclining too far in your chair can indicate indifference or boredom. Keep your back straight, and do not avoid using your hands to speak. Using hand gestures show your approachability and ease. Don’t forget to smile! It’s easy to let the nerves get to you but a genuine smile can help make yourself feel more relaxed, and that calmness will translate to the interviewer.
Don’t Forget to Listen
Active listening is an important skill any hiring manager will look for, so it’s ok to know when to stop talking. You will have plenty of time to speak during the interview, make sure you are not speaking over your interviewer while they are asking questions or giving you work scenarios because you may come across as rude or detached. You may find yourself getting distracted by outside scenarios or your own nerves, and while that is normal, you must find a way to practice active listening and keep yourself mindful and present. Taking a deep breath and allowing yourself to collect your thoughts before answering a question will help calm your nerves and show the hiring manager a sense of focus.
Prepare Some Questions
Most hiring managers end the interviewing process with a simple, “Do you have any questions for me?”, and although you might feel mentally drained from the experience, utilize the extra time to showcase your research on the position or your awareness during the interview. Prep at least two in-depth questions that ask about the company’s values, and the role itself, but make sure to keep the questions simple. A good question is a great way to stand out from other candidates as well. Stay away from asking any questions that involve benefits and salary, especially during your first round of interviews. Your question will demonstrate not only your knowledge to the hiring manager but your ability to think on your toes.
The hard part might be over but here comes the waiting game. If you’re eager to reach back out, sending a post-interview thank-you note can set you apart from other applicants. Although following up is not a requirement, it is encouraged. There are various ways to follow up after your initial interview, like sending an email thanking the hiring manager and other employees for their time, while also reinforcing your interest in the open position. This will help refresh the hiring manager’s mind of you, while also reaffirming your excitement for the job position!
The interview process is your opportunity to showcase your personality and accomplishments, so utilize the experience to your advantage and remember putting in the effort can go a long way!