You went through endless online job postings, found a great opportunity, sweated over that cover letter, and now you’ve got an interview! While getting called in for an interview is a high point in the job search process, it can also be a source of anxiety. How do you prepare for your job interview?
Don’t stress. Nailing your interview isn’t about being naturally charismatic or a perfect fit for the position. It’s about pulling out all the stops to impress your interviewers. Read on to learn our top five tips for making a good impression and beating out your fellow candidates.
#1: Know the Company, Inside and Out
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Nothing annoys interviewers more than a candidate who isn’t adequately prepared. If you don’t understand the company, what it does, and its competition, why bother to show up to the interview at all?
To win over the company brass, prep for your interview by:
- Going over the company website – Read every page on the company’s website, paying special attention to their press release archive, their About or History page, and any pages that pertain to the department you’d be working in.
- Researching your interviewers – It never hurts to know a thing or two about your interviewers. Look at their LinkedIn profiles to find their positions, alma maters, and any common ground you might share.
- Reading some articles about the company’s industry – If you’re interviewing at a wind turbine company but don’t know anything about wind turbines, it’s time to fix that. Arm yourself with a few key facts.
#2: Accessorize to Impress
Everyone knows that you should dress for success, but accessorizing to impress is crucial as well.
Male candidates can make a good impression on their hiring personnel with:
- Polished, high-quality shoes
- Sleek, modern watches for men
- Designer briefcases
Women can use the above accessories to impress as well as a few others, including:
- Well-organized leather bags
- Designer sunglasses (to be removed upon entering the office, of course)
- Subtle jewelry, such as a tennis bracelet
In addition, every garment you wear to the interview should be clean and pressed. Ensure your grooming is impeccable, but steer away from strong colognes or perfumes, as these can turn interviewers off.
#3: Practice, Practice, Practice
Unless you’re the kind of improvisational genius who should be on SNL, you may get tongue-tied at your interview, especially if they hit you with a question you’re not expecting.
Protect yourself from this by reading some common interview questions and writing out your answers to them. Then, rehearse your answers until they sound natural.
If you want to go the extra mile, some job search centers offer free practice interviews. You can also practice interviewing online or ask a friend who works in HR to pretend to interview you.
#4: Ask Informed Questions
At the end of your interview, your interviewers will ask you if you have any questions for them. This is your chance to find out if this role is really right for you, so don’t waste it!
Good questions to ask include:
- What would my typical day look like?
- How would you describe your company culture?
- What’s your favorite thing about working here?
#5: Send a Thank-You Note
It might be old-fashioned, but sending a real thank-you note after an interview is a classy touch. In your note, thank your interviewers for taking the time to meet with you.
Don’t pitch yourself again, as this may strike your interviewers as manipulative. Instead, express your genuine liking for them and the company.
Preparation is the Key to Getting Hired
If you want to get hired, you need to prove to your potential employers that you’re a candidate who can hit the ground running.
To prepare for an interview, you should:
- Research the company thoroughly, including the people who will be interviewing you.
- Write out your answers to commonly asked interview questions.
- Be ready to speak about your past work accomplishments.
- Clean and iron your interview outfit.
- Upgrade your interview look with subtle accessories.
- Have some questions of your own.
- Buy some high-quality stationery, so you’re ready to send your thank-you notes.
By taking the above steps, you’ll show the interviewers that you’re serious about working with them. That might just be the edge you need to rise above your competition.
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