First impressions can make or break your chances of landing a new job. A job interview is your chance to showcase your competence and confidence that you are the right person for the job.
An interview is your opportunity to connect on a professional and human level with your interviewer (even if the interview is virtual). Wow your interviewers, make a perfect impression and boost your confidence with our top tips to ace your interview.
1. Prepare, and Then Prepare Some More
Do your due diligence and educate yourself on the company, the role you’re applying for, the interviewer, and the company’s past projects. Find out how you would suggest fitting into the company by doing thorough online research. The company website and employee LinkedIn profiles all provide a treasure trove of information.
- Rehearse why you want to work there, what you bring to the company, and how you would tackle the job.
- With thorough preparation, you can speak more confidently, and the conversation should flow naturally.
- Always show up with multiple copies of your resume, portfolio, and references.
2. Be On Time
Picture your interviewer waiting because you’re late for the interview. Would you expect to be hired? Nope.
Showing up late is a telltale sign that you’re not reliable. It sends the message that you don’t respect the interviewer’s time.
Rushing to get there might make you feel anxious. Set yourself up for success by planning in advance, like looking up directions and giving yourself extra time to get ready and get there. You never know if you’ll have trouble finding parking or can’t find the building on the first try.
Unless there’s a major miscommunication or emergency, show up at least 15 minutes early and wait in your car or be ready at your computer for a virtual interview.
3. Calm The Nerves
It’s understandable if you’re a little nervous, but sweaty palms and fidgeting are not appealing. Avoid stressful activities and thoughts before the interview, if possible. Practice some of your “lines” in response to anticipated questions. Take a few minutes before the interview to take deep breaths and give yourself a little pep talk. YOU GOT THIS!
4. Body Language
People communicate not just in words but also by the tone of their voice and body signals. You might say you’re confident you can do the job, but if you’re sending nonverbal messages that conflict with your words, you won’t be convincing.
The art of appropriate body language and confidence is a skill that can be acquired with practice. Practice in front of a mirror. Better yet, record yourself in a mock interview. You might be surprised at how you come across. Honestly critique yourself, noting where you might give the wrong impression, appear to lack confidence, or overstep personal space. Give yourself some grace and make adjustments. Rinse and repeat. With practice, you’ll be more at ease and act more naturally.
Although some people may not shake hands due to COVID, you should still know how to look the interviewer in the eye and smile.
5. Dress Professionally
The rule of thumb for a job interview is dress to impress. Look at profile photos on the company website or LinkedIn and dress one step up from that. Clothing should be the appropriate length as well as clean and pressed. By owning the basics or reselling clothes, you can dress professionally without spending a lot. Don’t forget about your personal hygiene either.
6. Be Authentic And Build Relationships
Interviewers are human. Build rapport and trust by being genuine. If the interviewer likes you, they’re more likely to see you as a good fit and might choose you over another qualified candidate.
Repeat your interviewer’s name back to them at least two times. This will help you remember it and personalizes your interaction with them.
7. Humbly Showcase Yourself
Know your strengths, and be prepared to talk about what’s on your resume. If it’s on your resume, it’s fair game for the interviewer! Explain why you’re qualified for the job, sprinkled with relevant examples. Try to be tactful and stick to the facts, and you won’t sound overly braggy.
8. Be Polite To Everyone
If you want to become a part of the team, engage with everyone at the company as part of the team. Treat everyone, from the janitor to the receptionist, with courtesy and a smile. First impressions have lasting effects. Make it a good one.
9. Ask Questions
Asking questions shows your engagement and interest. Come prepared with a few niche questions to ask, and show that you’ve done your research. Don’t ask questions that can be answered by looking at their website. This is a good time to find out if the company and the role are a good fit for you as well.
10. Follow Up And Express Gratitude
Repeating back the interviewer’s name will help you remember who to follow up with. Ask for a business card if you don’t have contact information. A day or so later, follow up with an email or phone call thanking the interviewer for the time and consideration. Restate briefly why you’re a good fit for the job.
You Can Make A Perfect Impression
Doing well on job interviews is an art and a science. Act professional, show you’re interested, and be ready to make the case for your new employment! With thoughtful preparation and communication, you just might make the impression that you’re perfect for the job.
Getting ready for an interview might take a little bit of cash as well. Extra cash could help with dry cleaning, new clothes or gas to get to your interview. Consider using Instacash to get up to $250 at zero % APR and pay it back on your next payday.