Going in for a job interview can be a nerve-wrecking experience on its own, but when the job in question is your dream job, it can become overwhelmingly stressful. Minimize this stress by preparing yourself thoroughly. Here are 10 techniques for acing the interview and giving yourself the best shot at the job.
1. Get Your Story Together
"Tell me about yourself" is an interviewer's favorite opening line. This isn't a casual opener; you need to be able to describe your relevant career experience and traits within a few seconds. Focus on your greatest strengths and abilities, and try to insert something unique about yourself that will make you more memorable.
2. Know the Industry
Study the job description thoroughly, as well as the company and its industry. Knowing the company's needs and how you can specifically help them achieve their goals is a great way to impress the interviewer.
3. Beef up Your Online Persona
These days, hiring managers routinely use LinkedIn to find and recruit potential candidates, as well as check out current ones. If you haven't already, update your profile to include your most current and relevant experience, and fill out all information sections so that potential employers can get a good idea of your experience and skills.
4. Be Punctual
Being on time to the interview takes some finesse. You definitely don't want to be late, but arriving too early an put unnecessary burden on the interviewer, as well as the receptionist, front office manager or any other personnel that have to babysit you while the interviewer gets ready. Strive for 10 to 15 minutes ahead of the interview time.
5. Be Organized
Bring a folder with extra copies of your resume and cover letter, just in case. Keep them neat and organized so that you can retrieve them quickly and gracefully. Be sure to turn your mobile phone off or put it on silent.
6. Calm Your Nerves
It's normal to get nervous before the interview, especially for a job you really want. While you're waiting for the interview to begin, practice some deep breathing and focus on the points you want to highlight. Once it begins, just strive to put your best face forward. The interviewer is not expecting perfection.
7. Be Honest
Whatever you do during the interview, don't lie. Talking about skills you don't possess or embellishing about your work experience is likely to backfire.
8. Highlight Your Selling Points
Use your answers to lead the interview. Come up with a list of your best-selling points, and try to formulate responses that steer the interviewer's attention in that direction.
9. Ask Questions
Don't treat the interview as a one-sided interrogation. Ask your own thoughtful questions about the company, the position and what the hiring process is.
10. Follow Up
After the interview, send the interviewer a note thanking them for their time and consideration. Let them know how to contact you if they have any further questions or concerns. This might be the one thing that sets you apart from others on the short list of candidates.
Don't allow your desire for your dream job to create unnecessary stress. The more prepared you are for the interview, the better your chances of making a great impression.
Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net