If your resume made the cut and you got called in for a job interview, it's time to get prepared. After all, you only get one chance to make the best possible impression on the hiring manager. While there's no guarantee that you're going to end up getting hired, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of acing the interview.
1. Rehearse Your Responses
There's a fine line between preparing answers for the job interview and memorizing a script. Your goal should be to go in with a clear idea of what you want to say to common questions without sounding like you're reading from a teleprompter. A good way to practice is to make a list of typical job interview questions and then ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview. That way, you can work on sounding natural while still giving yourself material to reference during the real interview.
2. Dress for Success
It's important that you wear clothing that fits the company's culture. Do some research beforehand to get a feel for what kind of outfit is appropriate. For example, if you're applying for a position at a laid-back coffee shop, you probably don't need to wear a business suit. At the same time, it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Also, be sure to consider the context of the outfit. For instance, wearing a sweater might look nice, but if it's a hot day, you might become physically uncomfortable during the job interview.
3. Familiarize Yourself With the Company
Do your homework before you go in for the job interview. You should be well-versed in the company's products or services, as well as other aspects of its corporate culture. You want to make it clear that you genuinely want this job, beyond just the paycheck. Not only does this show the hiring manager that you want the job, but it also demonstrates that you're the type of person to take initiative.
4. Update Your Social Media Accounts
These days, it's quite common for hiring managers to search your name online before the job interview. Your social media accounts can easily mean the difference between getting hired or missing out on the opportunity. If you don't want to delete unprofessional social media posts or accounts, make them private. You can also use your social media accounts to your advantage by making public posts that portray you in a flattering light or that are relevant to the job you're interviewing for.
Never underestimate the power of a friendly demeanor to get your foot in the door. While a winning personality doesn't guarantee the job, it certainly helps. Of course, it's still important to maintain an air of professionalism, but try to connect with the hiring manager on a personal level by being authentically cheerful and upbeat. Even if you stumble here and there, you may still be able to ace the interview if the hiring manager feels a genuine connection.
While an approaching job interview can be nerve-racking, remember that the hard part is already over. The hiring manager saw your application and decided you had potential. Now, you just need to sell yourself. Be confident, friendly and prepared, and you should have no problem acing the interview.
Photo courtesy of Renee Bertrand at Flickr.com