Job candidates continually ask us for interview tips and advice, and we wanted to share eight interview best practices in order to assist you in distinguishing yourself.
1. Be on time. I always recommend arriving to the parking lot 20-30 minutes early just to be safe. Wait until 10 minutes before your interview until you enter their office. You don’t want to sit in the lobby too long, but you also don’t want to arrive with only a minute to spare.
2. Take notes. Bring a clean notepad or binder with a pen and take notes throughout the interview. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to be detail-oriented and responsible. Plus, it shows that you’re genuinely interested and find value in what they’re sharing with you during the interview.
3. Firm hand shake and eye contact. One of the major pet peeves of hiring managers is when candidates do not give a firm hand shake or make eye contact during the interview. Don’t fall into this boat. If you are in a one-on-one interview, make sure to maintain eye contact with that particular individual throughout the interview. If you are in an interview with more than one individual, make eye contact with each interviewer and don’t leave anyone out. You want everyone to feel like you notice them and they’re important – eye contact does just that.
4. Smile. This tip should probably move to the #1 spot on my list. A smile is worth a thousand words, if not more. People want to hire and work with positive individuals. Let your personality shine during an interview – this starts with smiling.
5. Stay positive. Adding to the above point, people want to hear affirmative responses to their questions. Dwell on the good things from your past experiences, not your bad ones. Make sure that the glass is always half-full.
6. Research the company. Go online and read as much as you can about the company. Check news articles, visit their website, and perhaps you can even find a blog or two from individuals within the company. Knowing this information will give you confidence and separate you from other applicants who didn’t take the time to get to know the company prior to the interview.
7. Prepare questions beforehand. Write out a series of well-thought-out questions before the interview (as a general rule of thumb, 3-5 questions is perfect). By doing so, you are again showing them that you are highly interested in the opportunity with their company and have taken the time to come up with insightful and relevant questions.
8. Ask for the job. This point pertains to the final step of the interview, after you’ve asked your other questions. Consider it your final question. You want to ask the interviewer(s) if they feel confident about you in this particular role and whether or not there is anything else you can clarify for them. If possible, you want to walk out of the interview having a great understanding of whether or not you got the job. For example, one way you could ask this question is by saying: “It has been a pleasure to meet you today and learn more about this opportunity and great company. I am highly interested in working with you, and I wanted to know how you feel about me being a strong fit for this position. Is there anything else I can clarify or further elaborate for you?”