So, you’ve landed a job interview. Now what? Most people would say scoring an interview was the hard part. But, now that you actually have to meet face-to-face with the hiring manager and the team you could potentially be working with, you still need to showcase your capabilities. This is your opportunity to put your best foot forward and, as the saying goes, you only get one first impression.
Don’t worry! We’ve got five tips on how to succeed during your in-person interview:
Dress for success: What you wear is a reflection of you. Dressing appropriately for an office environment can sometimes be tricky. Do men wear a suit? Should women wear slacks and a blazer? The answer is – yes! Men, wear a nice blue or black suit and tie. Women, wear a nice fitting pair of slacks in a similarly appropriate color with a matching blazer and a neutral colored blouse. If you choose to wear a skirt, make sure it’s long enough to reach just above your knees, and polish the look with a pair of nylons and short-heeled shoes. This is your opportunity to look well-groomed and gain credibility and respect. A nice outfit can go a long way! Read this for more interview attire do’s and don’ts.
Do your homework: Hiring managers want to know the person they are interviewing has a genuine interest in their company. Take an extra hour out of your day before your interview to brush up on the firm’s latest news and press releases. See where the company is headed and go to the interview ready to bring an idea or two on how you can help contribute to the business.
Come prepared: You don’t want to be the candidate who has to ask for a pen and paper should you need to take notes. Being prepared is essential to showing the hiring manager you are organized and ready at a moment’s notice. Also, if you are interviewing for a position in which you need to show your past work, bring a portfolio highlighting your accomplishments. Don’t forget to bring a few extra copies of your resume, too. You never know who else may be called into the interview to meet with you who may not have had a chance to look over your resume yet.
On-time is late: If there’s one thing that cannot be stressed enough, it’s that punctuality is key to making a good first impression. Put the address of where your interview will be held into your GPS and take a test drive if you have the time. If you can’t scope the scene prior to your interview, be sure you check the traffic the day of, and leave with plenty of time to spare. Even if you get there 20 minutes early, it will be better to sit in your car and do some prep work than to arrive late. Ideally, be in the office five minutes early. Any time before that may throw the hiring manager’s schedule off as most people these days are busy with meetings.
Thank you, thank you, thank you: Whatever you do, follow up with everyone you met with during your interview to say thank you. Let them know how much you appreciate them taking the time to meet with you and include a follow up key point you remember from your interview. This could be a personal takeaway from someone you spoke with, or a thought you had about how you can help with an issue or job role discussed during the interview.
Job interviews and meeting new people can be stressful and sometimes nerve-wracking. Interviews are meant to be taken seriously, but remember, stay relaxed and be yourself. If the company and culture is a right fit, then it’s meant to be. If not, don’t sweat it. New opportunities will arise. When one door closes, another opens, and each interview makes for great practice.
Do you have any helpful interview tips not listed here? Share them in the comments section below for your fellow job seekers.