How to Win Your Interview Before it Starts
You have a killer resume and you wrote an all-star cover letter. Better yet, those documents landed you an interview! You’re nervous but excited, and determined to make a good impression. In this week’s blog, we’ve got some helpful tips about how you can master your first impression and set yourself up for success from the moment you walk through the door.
1. Do your Research
Before your interview, research both the company and the position you’re interviewing for. Good companies will ask you questions like: "What attracted you to apply to ABC Company?" or "Why are you interested in ABC Position, and what makes it so appealing?" These questions usually come quite early in the interview process, and if you haven’t done your homework, it’ll quickly show. Most companies are looking for someone who will “fit” with the organization, so it’s important to understand what the company values, what daily life is like there, and how the company wants to evolve and grow – its culture, basically. Here are the best places to glean information:
Company Social Media
Recent News Stories
The more you understand about the unique culture of the business, the better off you’ll be.
2. Dress for Success
Lots of people struggle with how to dress for their interview. Dress for the position you are interviewing for, or the position you would like to have. If you’re interviewing for a hospitality or retail position, no need for a three-piece suit. However, if you’re going for a leadership, managerial, or director position, you’ll want to whip that suit out (and freshly press it). No matter the situation, if you're unsure, err on the side of overdressing. Before you go out the door, add one special item that makes you feel great. Maybe it’s a handcrafted pair of earrings, or a unique watch; you want something that gives you a little extra shine.
3. Come Prepared
When you go to your interview, bring copies of your resume and cover letter, and if you have a portfolio or work samples, bring those as well – even if you’ve already submitted everything online. The individuals interviewing you are professionals but they are not immune to forgetfulness. When you bring copies, it shows you are prepared, that you care about others, and that you value the interviewer’s time. These efforts speak volumes even though nothing is said, and it is this type of conscientiousness that employers are looking for.
4. Give a Confident Handshake
When you go to your interview, you will inevitably end up shaking someone’s hand (and probably more than once). A hand shake can be very important, especially in the business world. A common mistake when shaking someone’s hand is to look down at your hands, rather than at the individual you’re meeting. Be confident when shaking someone’s hand and look them in the eye with a smile. Offering a firm hand that is neither too hard nor too soft shows confidence. Handshakes are great opportunity to show someone in a very subtle way that you are confident and capable, especially if you are a young candidate.
5. Harness the Power of Positivity
I know this sounds super simple, but the last tip is just to come to your interview with a great attitude. Plenty of people show up to interviews with the wrong mindset – they have a ‘me me me’ mentality, or they are just looking for a paycheck. Hiring managers and HR professionals have tough, busy days. They may be short-staffed or getting pressured to find the right candidate quickly. Positivity is contagious, and when you bring a bright attitude, a winning smile, and an energetic spirit from the start, it can turn the tide of the interview from good to great.