Job interviews often feel like a make-or-break moment, so it's normal to experience a surge of stress before the big day. If you remember that interviewers are just people with a job to do, you can focus on steering the conversation to play up your best qualities. Follow these tips to stay composed and boost your odds of succeeding in any job interview.
1. Research the Company
Study up on each employer, so you can craft personalized answers. Look for a website, social media profiles and press coverage to get a sense of where the company is heading. Interviewers are impressed when you're informed about the company and have relevant interests and goals that tie in with the culture.
2. Perfect Your Timing
If you have options, try to schedule a job interview at an optimal time. Early morning and late afternoon interviews aren't ideal, since most people are tired and less focused during these periods. Aim for late morning early in the week when hiring managers are more energized and less likely to feel burnt out from interviewing.
3. Bring Extra Resumes
If you happen to get a disorganized interviewer who can't find your application, save the day by having an extra resume on hand. Sadly, it's common for candidates to get overlooked because of an interviewer's negligence. This small gesture shows your preparedness and keeps the job interview focused on your qualifications.
4. Dress Appropriately
Appearance speaks volumes before you even start the job interview. Business attire varies from one company to the next, so choose clothing that mirrors the culture. Depending on the environment, both underdressing and overdressing can send the wrong message.
5. Practice Your Answers
Anticipate an interviewer's typical questions, and practice answering with confidence. Brainstorm relevant experiences to strengthen your responses, making sure your answers are concise and structured with a clear example of your skills.
6. Find Common Ground
Likability is an unspoken criterion all interviewers use to judge you. Are you someone who makes the workday more enjoyable? Can they picture hanging out with you after business hours? To gain the likability factor, try to find common ground early in the meeting. You can do research if you know who is interviewing you or try to build natural rapport by being conversational.
7. Ask Questions
Consider your candidacy "dead and buried" if you leave a job interview without asking questions. Employers want candidates who are deeply interested in the job and have standards for where they work. Asking questions is also a helpful coping mechanism to overcome nervousness. Probing for information takes the pressure off of you to constantly talk while helping you uncover more details to incorporate in your responses.
8. Send a Thank You Note
Top off a great job interview with a thank you note expressing your gratitude. Thoughtful follow-up sets you apart from the average candidate and gives you one final opportunity to reinforce your qualifications. Don't waste it.
Succeeding in job interviews is often a toss-up. You can't predict or control everything the interviewer is thinking, and sometimes, you simply aren't the right fit. However, it's important to make your best effort and behave professionally throughout the process. Even if you aren't hired right away, a successful job interview could lead to an offer in the future.
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