One of the most difficult parts of securing a new job is the interview. This is when things get up close and personal, so to speak. No longer is your prospective employer looking at a piece of paper, but they are now sitting across the table from you, asking you questions, making eye contact with you, and otherwise judging you based upon who you are, not what you put down on a piece of paper. Needless to say, many types of personalities find this to be a little overwhelming.
So what can you do to make this part of the job search process a strength, and not a weakness? Here, we’ve put together our top three tips for nailing your interview.
1: Practice. This one’s a no brainer for us. Think about it: how do you get good at something? Are you an expert pianist the first time you sit down at the piano? Absolutely not! You get good at something by doing it over and over again. You should practice speaking with someone that you trust to give you helpful feedback. They shouldn’t just tell you that you’re doing great, but should point out things that can help you improve. Letting you know that you avert your eyes from the interviewer, or that you are fidgety, or that you say things like “um,” “like,” or “yeah” too many times will also help you master your speaking skills. If you can, ask them to come up with a few surprise questions for you, too. This will help you to stay on your toes and think a bit more quickly in a real life interview.
2: Show your knowledge. If you were looking for an employee, would you want to hire someone that knew a lot about the company already and what they did? Or, would you want someone that didn’t seem like they knew what they were getting themselves into? 99 percent of managers would prefer the former, so make sure that you fall into this category. This can be quite easy to accomplish by doing some research on the company before you go in for the interview.
If you have a background in the industry that you are applying to, showing that you keep up with the latest trends in the business will also be helpful. Even if the company doesn’t use those concepts, it shows that you are able to adapt to new things, and this is helpful wherever you work, especially if it’s complex material.
When done well, this allows you to show a potential employer that you are not only knowledgeable, but realistically confident in your ability to get your job done right.
3: Show that you’re grateful. This might seem unimportant, but showing that you are appreciative of both the company and the interviewers to take time out of their schedule to meet with you is important. If you did well at the interview, sending a thank you note shows that not only are you qualified, you are also a nice person. This says a lot about you and your ability to work with other people.
There’s some debate over whether a thank you note sent in the email is best, or if a quick email will suffice. We recommend sending the thank you note via mail. It shows extra effort and this speaks volumes about you being able to go “the extra mile” in a work setting. Everyone likes being appreciated, so be sure to take a few minutes to show your interviewers that you know that they didn’t have to meet with you during their busy schedules.