Everyone stresses over going on interviews. Whether it’s your first time in the hot seat or you’re an interview pro, it’s okay if the nerves creep up beforehand. After all, interviews are essentially what makes or breaks you. While a resume gets your foot in the door, how you present yourself and whether or not you make an impression on the hiring manager, can ultimately determine if you get hired.
While being yourself is one of the most important aspects of interview, it doesn’t hurt to do a little preparation beforehand. Researching a company before meeting with a manager is incredibly significant. It’s good to show that you cared enough to make the effort of learning a little about the business you’re wanting to be a part of. This is also a good way to make sure you are more engaged in conversation when speaking with management. For as stressful as the process may seem, there are only a few steps to making sure your big day goes smoothly.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Many of us self-identify as “procrastinators”. While you may think you work best under pressure, waiting until the last minute isn’t a good way to decrease stress for an interview. Preparing everything ahead of time is the best way to achieve a favorable outcome. For example, make sure you pick out an outfit to wear the day before. You should also show up for the interview 5-10 minutes early. Not only will both of these tidbits reduce panic, but they leave room for life’s uncertainties.
An interview should not be the manager asking questions and you answering. Nor should just one person do the talking for the duration of the interview. In a previous post, I stressed that a meeting between two people in a professional setting should be a conversation and not an interrogation. There should be an ease that allows both parties to get a feel for the other and not feel as if either are being talked over. Make sure you show interest in the company and field you’re hoping to get into, while being candid about your hopes for a potential future with their organization.
Perhaps just as important as your words, is how you physically present yourself. I’m not just talking about what you decide to wear, but your gestures as well. Right off the bat, lead with a strong handshake. Make sure you make eye contact and smile. When you’re sitting across from whoever is interviewing you, it’s imperative to not fidget, but don’t look stiff. You want to look relaxed and engaged in conversation. I’ve interviewed too many candidates who aren’t making eye contact, are moving back and forth in their chair, and constantly playing with their hair, a pen, etc. All these can be considered distracting and will stand out more in a manager’s eyes than anything else.
When the interview is over, it’s not really over. Remember, you want to make an impression. Even if you are enthusiastic and genuinely interactive during the interview, you want to really drive the point home. Always make sure you get a business card before leaving and when you can, sit down and write a thank you note. Let whoever you met with know that you are thankful for them taking the time out of their day to see you. Demonstrate that you truly want whatever role you applied for and hope to be considered as a possible candidate for the position.
With so many people applying for jobs daily, you want to set yourself apart from the competition. An interview is the chance to leave a positive impression on your potential employer. If you keep these tips in mind, you will find out that not only does the stress of interviewing decrease, but the conversation is fluid and has an optimal outcome. Good luck out there, potentials!