“Never judge a book by its cover.” Although a popular phrase, the majority of people ignore this sentiment. Sadly, we judge everything based on first impressions, including job interviews. A job interview is all about making a good first impression. What is the best way to ace the interview?
Here are five tips to get you started.
Practice in Front of a Mirror
Get in front of the mirror and practice. Actually voice your answers to common interview questions such as, “tell me about yourself.” Do some research on the company to help you make a good impression.
Practice the handshake before going to the interview. Make eye contact, have a firm (but not too firm) grip, and don’t try anything weird like gripping with two hands or holding the shake longer than a second or two.
Make sure to stand and sit up straight! During job interviews or networking events, make eye contact and have good posture. By practicing questions, the handshake, and having good posture and mannerisms, you will be off to a great start.
It’s important to arrive to an interview early. It will not only allow you to relax and get ready, but it will also show the employer that you are prepared. By arriving early, you have a chance to get to know the office environment and meet people casually (which is important if there is an opportunity to network).
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re trying to look the part for an interview. Make sure to keep the following tips in mind so you don’t overdress or underdress:
Dress to impress, but don’t overdo it. You should look professional and put-together during the interview. Keep in mind, though, that this does not mean dressing up like it’s a wedding! Apart from wearing sweatpants during an interview, wearing formal attire that makes you look nicer than the company CEO should be avoided at all costs.A good rule of thumb is to look at what an employee typically dresses like at the company and go up one step. If employees wear jeans and polo shorts, consider wearing a button-up and slacks, but avoid a suit and tie.
Be Confident but Humble
You should be confident that you can do the job and have mastered everything they have asked you to learn. You need to be confident, but not arrogant. While employers are looking for qualified and confident employees, an arrogant personality can be a red flag. Be humble, but don’t be so modest that you don’t mention your qualifications and relevant experience if you have them.
Bring a Portfolio
Bring a portfolio, and be sure to include your best work. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can use a simple binder or folder and print out some of the projects you’ve completed. A portfolio is also a natural but subtle way to bring notes. Rather than having to remember every detail about a previous job, referring back to the portfolio can be a refresher that may work in your favor. In a group interview, a portfolio is especially useful because other members will likely look through it as you answer questions.
Ask Smart Questions
Do not make the mistake of asking about salary and benefits at the beginning. Focus on the job itself, not what they can do for you. Get some insight into how your experience matches up with what they are looking for in this position during the interview.
When in doubt, ask about culture and team dynamics. Here are some good questions you can ask:
- What makes people successful here?
- Do they work as a team or as individuals?
- Is there room for growth within their organization?
- What kinds of projects do people typically take on and where do they go from there?
If you ask these questions, you will get a better idea of what is going on at the company when it comes time to discuss salary, which likely doesn’t happen until the end of the interview, or even until a second interview.
Now that you’ve got the skills, it’s time to nail the job interview.