So you’re at the point in your life where you’re ready to make the jump to your next job. Whether your motivation is for work-life balance, growth opportunities, or higher pay, you’ve made the decision to start making steps to get what you want in life. You’ve found a job opportunity either from your recruiter or searching online, and have landed an interview with that company. Congrats! Now comes the time to be on your “A” game so you can wow your interviewer.
Here are some tips to crush your next job interview:
Before the Interview
The first thing you have to do is always research, research, research. It’s important to find out as much as you can about both the job and the company. This allows you to formulate questions about the company that you can ask the interviewer. The answers to those questions will show you whether or not you’re a good fit for not only the position but within the company culture, too. Review the job requirements, which assets you bring to the table, and examples of your work experience so you’re prepared to accurately articulate them during the interview.
Then, ask yourself, “Where am I going?” Don’t just know the area of town or the street. You need to know the building, too, or your first impression could be you running late because you were lost. Use Google Maps, Waze or another app to get directions if you’re not sure where you are going or don’t know how long it will take you to get there.
Once you know where you’re going and what kind of questions to ask, you need to decide what to wear. First impressions are everything. When dressing for an interview for a professional position, dress accordingly in business attire. Also remember that bringing a strong odor into an interview can be very distracting, whether that be from perfume/cologne or cigarette smoke. You never know what kind of allergies the interviewer may have and this is not the best way to find out.
It’s important to know what to bring (and what not to bring) to a job interview. Items to bring include a portfolio with extra copies of your resume, a list of references, a list of questions to ask the interviewer, and something to write with. Things you should leave behind include your cellphone (or at least turn your phone off), a cup of coffee, gum, or anything else that could distract from you or your capabilities.
During the Interview
Your interview essentially starts as soon as you walk through the company doors. Remember to greet the receptionist, your interviewer, and everyone else you meet politely, pleasantly, and enthusiastically. During the interview, watch your body language; shake hands firmly and make eye contact as you articulate your points. Pay attention, look interested, and ask good questions.
An interview is your chance to talk about your experience and your career goals, not to badmouth a former boss or give a laundry list of reasons for your exit. Instead, focus on what you learned in your previous position and how you are ready to use those skills in a new position.
Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in the workforce. Technical skills might get your foot in the door, but your personality secures the job. Make sure you’re able to demonstrate your soft skills so they’ll know how you’ll work with their colleagues and clients. If you have any way to connect with your interviewer on a personal level, do it. For example, if they have team memorabilia and you like the team, tell them! Then, instead of being that person who was proficient in Microsoft Suite, you become that person who grew up in the same town as them and shares their love for the Nashville Predators (or whatever it may be).
After the Interview
Don’t think the interview is your only way to make an impression. Too often, candidates focus all their energy on the first interview and don’t realize the importance of follow through once it’s over. As soon as possible after the interview, send a follow up email to thank them for their time and point out some things you may have bonded over. Next, send a thank you note reiterating your interest in the job, things about the company that stood out to you, and your gratitude for them taking the time to meet with you. You may think a physical note is traditional or old school, but it can be a big differentiator in who gets the job and who doesn’t.
I’ll leave you with these main takeaways: do your research, be prepared to articulate what you bring to the table professionally and personally, and make sure you follow up. That is how you’ll crush your next job interview and create a lasting memory with the hiring manager. You got this!
About Lynzi Loyd