You’ve finally graduated from college and are on the hunt for the perfect position. The workforce is highly competitive as millions of workers have headed out to interviews each year. Getting your resume up to speed and perfecting your message to pass the strict evaluation criteria of hiring managers is just the first part of getting into the company of your dreams. Being noticed on paper can get you in the door for an interview, but you will need to nail the in-person interview process if you want them to know how valuable you will be to the company. You need to know your stuff, look good, demonstrate competence, highlight experience, and so much more if you want to beat out the 98% of other applicants that were vying for the same position. Here are some things to do conqueror the interview process.
When you get the call for an interview, the temptation is to secure the first available time slot for a meeting with the hiring manager. However, Mondays and Fridays are the worst possible times to schedule your interview. Mondays tend to be hectic as mangers prepare for the upcoming week, but Fridays have employees distracted and read for the weekend. Early morning and late afternoons are also awkward times for scheduling, due to energy levels and focus. Midday during the middle of the week is a reasonable time to catch the hiring manager in a favorable mood.
How you dress when heading into the interview could instantly impact your chances at a job. Dressing professionally is the obvious strategy, but that approach can be subjectively interpreted. Since you want to demonstrate reliability and project confidence, classic neutral colors of black, gray, and blue are always safe choices. You don’t want to go overboard with flashy accessories like an oversized watch or conspicuous cuff-lines, but a well-crafted line of leather messenger bags could improve the professionalism of both your look and your seriousness about the interview. You will want to bring a copy of your resume and a leather messenger bag that complements your outfit. Have your clothing choices planned and ironed the day before your interview, so you limit distractions while you prepare the morning of.
It is completely understandable to be nervous on the day of your big interview, but presenting yourself as a nervous wreck or displaying anxiety is the fastest way to ruin rapport with the interviewer. Most hiring managers have interviewed dozens of people, and they are able to recognize body language or verbal cues that reveal high anxiety. By recognizing your nervous habits, you can proactively address them or consciously correct them when they are occurring during the interview process. Always speak calmly and precisely, and present body language and tone to convey approachability and candor.
Every part of the interview is important, but nailing the opening moments has been found to be the most significant part of the experience. The chit chat that you find awkward and uncomfortable when you first sit day is actually an area of importance. First impressions matter when you are looking for a job, and in addition to dressing for the position, you should communicate well from the beginning. Don’t get extreme with your conversation making, but talking about the weather, local news or sports teams are always safe places to steer the conversation. Practice making conversation with a friend or family member in order to have the topics and responses flow more naturally and sound less rehearsed.
Even though a company will be interviewing you, it is highly recommended that you bring your own brand into the interview process. You don’t have to develop a logo or spit out a fancy mission, but you should have a carefully crafted narrative about who you are and how you will be an asset to their team. Your brand shouldn’t be a list of facts and figures, but a creative way of injecting your experiences and unique qualities into the conversation. Keep responses interesting, choosing to highlight certain aspects of your personality, education, or experiences through engaging dialogue and personal anecdotes.
If you really want the job, you need to passionately prepare your responses to the tough interview questions and conversations you will encounter in those brief minutes. While you won’t know everything the hiring manager will ask, one of the most common opening lines is “Tell me about yourself.” Even if the manager doesn’t lay this question out verbatim, the whole purpose of an interview is to get to know the candidate and see if a good fit exists between the interviewee and the potential employer. By reviewing the company website ahead of time, in addition to the job description, you can craft complete answers to the questions that incorporate your skills and experience. Don’t passively approach your interview opportunity. Do your research and prepare for the meeting. Part of this preparation includes drafting your own interview questions. This demonstrates your interest in the company and the position.
Receiving a call to schedule an interview is thrilling, but it can also can immediate anxiety and dread. Though these are normal emotions for applications of all ages and skill levels, you don’t have to let these feelings sabotage your job potential. By addressing these six areas, you can prepare for your interview like the professional you are.