No doubt about it, the hardest part of job searching is the interview. It’s easy to sit at home and revise your resume into perfection, but the second you sit in front of someone to explain yourself and your interest in their company, you just can’t seem to find the words. But, interviews don’t have to be this scary. All you need is a little preparation. Think of interviewing as studying for a test. You will only do as well as you have prepared for. Just know your basics, review before you go in, and remember that you’ve got this!
What to do in an Interview
1. Make Good Eye Contact and Smile
Besides giving a firm handshake to everyone you meet, this is the golden rule for interviews. Your first impression is so important and employers respond positively to candidates who seem friendly, confident, and excited to be there.
2. Boast a Little
It may seem unnatural to talk about yourself so much, but every employer understands that you’re trying to sell yourself. Just make sure you’re highlighting your accomplishments that correlate to the job and not just bragging about yourself in general. Humble confidence is the key.
3. Bring Resume Copies
This is a big one. It can be embarrassing if you show up to an interview with only one copy of your resume when there are two or more interviewers. We like to say that you should keep it to a safe number of 10 copies, just in case. Also, make sure to review your resume multiple times and even change some things to be more directed towards the position you are interviewing for.
4. Dress to Impress
Are you fresh out of professional clothing? While it’s always fun to snag a great deal at the mall, try checking out these resources for affordable clothing options.
5. Take Notes
If you feel that the interview is going well and the company starts to talk about their goals, consider taking notes. This lets the company know that you’re invested in where they’re at and where they are going.
6. Prepare Questions to Ask
This involves researching the company, knowing who they are and what they do. Questions not only imply your interest, but they show that you know enough to ask the right ones.
7. Thank Them for Their Time
This is the most crucial part of the end of any interview. This employer has taken time out of their day to sit with you and you should never forget to thank them for that.
Pro Tip: It always looks good to also say “I look forward to hearing from you.” This lets the interviewer know that you intend to see them again and further confirms your continued interest in the position.
What Not to do in an Interview
You know it’s never good to lie, but it’s also not okay to stretch the truth. The day you start a job, an employer will quickly find out how much you exaggerated. Keep things simple, truthful, and it never hurts to mention your “learning mentality” for new things.
2. Go Casual
This is self-explanatory. You will want to choose your outfit based on the company culture. Are they modern and casual? Try a safe but stylish take on business casual. Are they a more traditional company? Stick with business professional.
Pro Tip: It never hurts to carry mints, a comb, and a lint roller with you just in case.
3. Monopolize the Conversation
Employers want to get to know you, but they don’t need to know your life story. Review possible questions and have some key points you want to make sure you bring up.
4. Express Your Interest in Other Companies
Some interviewers think bringing up other companies will make an employer want to snatch you up. More often than not, it’s just bad manners. If an employer specifically asks you about other companies you’re interviewing with, then feel free to answer. But, always make sure to let the employer know your specific interest in their company.
5. Get Off Topic
Always bring the conversation back to your interest in the company and your ability to fit the position perfectly.
One More Thing: An information interview is not a job interview.
Information interviews are strictly to learn more about the career opportunities with a company. This can include externships, volunteer opportunities, summer jobs, part-time work, contacts, and even paid experience. Information interviews do not include interviewing for a specific position or any talk of job offers.
From the desk of Linda Dewitt, Director of Career Services for Community HigherEd.
Learn more about our Career Services here!