10 Interview Tips to Give You the Edge
You landed the interview. What’s next? These tips will help you prepare for an interview and make the impression you want.
#1 Have a positive attitude.
This is important from the time you land the interview until you land the job. When you’re positive and enthusiastic, it puts everyone in a better place: the HR representative, your interviewer(s) and, most importantly, you.
#2 Dress professionally.
Think about interview outfits early. Having a well-fitting suit, skirt and/or dress pants plus a professional-looking shirt or blouse in your closet will give you peace of mind knowing that you are ready any time an opportunity for an interview arises. Even if you’re interviewing with a company where casual dress is the code, a professional appearance will boost your confidence and your chances of landing the job.
#3 Research the company.
Review the company’s website, as well as any other information you can find about the company and its industry. Be prepared to answer questions such as “Why are you interested in working for our company?” and “What interests you about our industry?” with a response that reflects what you know about current issues, opportunities, or competitive situations facing the company or industry.
#4 Prepare talking points.
Think about what you want to communicate about yourself — specifically your strengths and skills and how they could benefit the company — and anticipate the questions the interviewer might ask. While you can’t predict exactly how the conversation will go, prepare with some specific examples of things you’ve done that illustrate how you put your skills and strengths into action.
#5 Prepare questions.
There comes a time in every interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Remember that this interview is also for you to find out more about the company so that you can determine if this is a place where you would want to work. Having a few questions prepared also demonstrates your interest in the company and position.
#6 Pack your resume and other materials.
Take several copies of your resume, your portfolio or samples of your work (if appropriate for the position), and a notepad and pen to take notes.
#7 Arrive early.
Employers are looking for employees who will get to work on time, so head out with the intention of arriving 15 minutes early, and know where you’re going. Once you’ve arrived, you can use those extra minutes to collect your thoughts and calm your nerves before going inside. Checking in with the receptionist five to 10 minutes early is ideal. Checking in too early may make the staff or interviewer feel uneasy.
#8 Ditch your phone, coffee, or gum.
Eating, drinking, or chewing gum during an interview isn’t appropriate. It’s Ok to accept if your interviewer offers you coffee or water, but don’t bring any food or drinks to the interview. Make sure your cell phone is turned off as well; you don’t want interruptions, and neither does your interviewer.
#9 Stay focused and friendly.
Keep the conversation positive, and answer all of the interviewer’s questions as honestly and concisely as you can. Let your confidence and knowledge shine through (without boasting), and let them see what an asset you would be to their company. Be sure to shake hands at the beginning and end of the interview, and thank your interviewer for the opportunity before you leave. It’s also good form to thank the receptionist on your way out.
#10 Follow up.
Send an email or letter within 24 hours of your interview, thanking the interviewer and expressing your continued interest in the position. Keep it succinct, but include why you feel you would be a good fit for the position (how you can support the company’s mission or ongoing efforts in a certain area). Tailor it to what the interviewer stressed as important. This will set you apart from generic thank-you letters that just ask for the job. Be genuine, gracious, and enthusiastic.