Every interview is an opportunity to show your potential employer that you're the best candidate for the job. The problem is, many people go into their interviews unprepared, and end up making a bad impression.
Practice is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for an interview. Practice answering questions with a friend, family member or alone so that when it comes time for your real interview you're prepared.
Doing research on the company will help you answer any question they may ask about who they are and what they do. You can also ask questions that pertain to the company so you look interested in them. For example, if you're interviewing for a company that makes sports equipment, ask about their newest line to show your interest.
Take some time before your interview to look over the job posting. This will ensure that you're aware of all the responsibilities for this position, and can answer any questions they may have about what is required from you, if hired.
Before going into an interview always prepare at least two answers for each question your might be asked during a job interview. This way, you're prepared for any question they may have and can give them an answer when asked, which will leave a good impression on the interviewer. For example, if they ask you, "Where do you see yourself in five years?", you can give them an answer such as "I hope to still be learning from this company and growing within the position I'd been hired for."
Take time to prepare a list of references the company can contact if they're interested in you. These should be people who know your work ethic and can vouch for your character.
Take time to prepare examples of your work that you can talk about if asked. You want to make sure these are the best examples possible, and will show a potential employer why they should hire you. Consider portfolios, any previous work experience, activities with friends/organisations, or volunteer jobs you've held in which you've demonstrated competence and success.
When you're preparing for an interview make sure to wear appropriate interview attire. This will ensure that you give off a professional appearance and can impress your interviewer.
If you wear perfume or cologne, try to go light on it. You want your interviewer to focus of what is being said, and not on the overpowering smell coming from you!
When you're preparing to go into an interview, try to plan your day so that you can arrive about ten minutes early. This will allow for any unforeseen problems, and give you some buffer time if the traffic was bad on the way there or other issues arise.
If possible turn off all electronic devices before going in for an interview, including cell phones. If not able to do this make sure they at least have their ringer turned off so it does not interrupt during speaking with the interviewer(s). It's also best if these items are put away completely out of sight where others cannot see them either.
Make sure you bring copies of your resume, a notebook and pen, and the reference list if it's requested. You want to make sure that everything they may need from you during an interview is ready for them. This will leave a good impression on the interviewer because they won't have to ask for these items.
Be sure to look your interviewer in the eyes when speaking with them and not at the floor or ceiling. This will show interest in what they're saying and can help you connect better with them which could give you an edge over other applicants who don't do this during their interview.
Try your best to avoid fidgeting during the interview. This includes things like playing with a pen, touching your face or hair repeatedly, and crossing and uncrossing your legs. All of these are signs that you may not be interested in what is being said which can give off an unprofessional vibe to potential employers. Also try not start out by saying "um" before every sentence when speaking because this will show hesitation which could make them think twice about hiring you for their position.
It's important to be polite and have good manners when speaking with your interviewer. This includes things like saying please, thank you, if you don't know the answer just tell them that instead of making something up or avoiding the question all together. Other things to include are having good posture, making eye contact when speaking with them, smiling naturally instead of forcing it because you think they expect it from you.
When arriving at the business where you're interviewing, it's best to be friendly but brief with staff members. This will show that you can maintain a professional appearance while still being personable and not standoffish. Allow your interviewer(s) to guide the conversation, don't feel pressured to fill silent gaps in dialogue.
If there's silence during an interview try not to feel as though you have to fill this gap by speaking or asking unnecessary questions. It's okay if sometimes these moments happen so just let them occur naturally without feeling pressure from yourself or others present for this time period of quietness.
Maintain your composure if the interviewer asks difficult questions. If at any time during an interview the interviewer asks a question that is very personal try your best not to react negatively in anyway. If needed take a moment or two before answering so that you have enough time to collect yourself and answer their question without being too emotional about it. This will leave an impression on them for showing responsibility by thinking through what could be considered as hard times in life.
If your previous employers are brought up during an interview it's best to not speak negatively about them because this could leave the interviewer with a bad impression. Instead of talking badly about these people try focusing on what you learned from them and how they helped prepare you for where you want to be in this new career path instead.
Stop yourself if feelings come up that may make it obvious that something has made you angry or sad. If any negative emotions come out while speaking, stop right away and wait until things have cooled off before continuing with your answer or question. This will give the interviewer(s) better insight into who you really are as a person when put under pressure which can show if someone would be able to handle working in certain situations at a company.
At the end of the interview, when an interviewer is finished asking their questions it would be best to ask them about next steps in this process. This will make you seem interested in what they're doing, which could lead them to think that you might be a good fit for their company if all goes well after your second visit with them at some point down the road.
After an interview has taken place it's good to send a follow up thank you letter to the interviewer(s). Make sure this note is personalised and not something that was generic because there are many people interviewing for one position. Include things like what stood out most about them during your meeting, why you think they would consider hiring someone like yourself for their company, anything interesting or important that happened throughout the course of the visit with them on this day which could have made a lasting impression upon them as well.
Interviewing for a new position is an exciting time in your life (your resume/CV were one of the selected few to catch the eye of the recruiter!). To make the most of this opportunity, it's important to be prepared and put forth your best self so that you can land the job offer. It may seem like a daunting task, but with these interview tips, you'll have everything you need to ace your next interview.
From making yourself memorable by using body language cues or being friendly when greeting staff members upon arrival, to getting off on the right foot all the way through to following-up after receiving feedback about how they think things went during your visit, we've got you covered.