The Interview. This is it. Your moment to shine, to impress the hiring manager and to get the job you really want. To give yourself the best chance of landing it, you need to impress them, not only with your background and experience, but with who you are and how you carry yourself. To help you stand out in your interview so you can give a great first impression, here are some tips to make the hiring manager remember you.
Show Up Early – There’s truth to the old saying, ‘To be on time is to be late.’ If you want to take full advantage of the time allotted for your interview, plan to show up at least 15 minutes early. Plus, while you wait you have the opportunity to observe the workplace dynamics. Are the employees stressing out? Do you hear laughter? What’s the vibe?
Be Nice to Everyone – Your interview starts the moment you walk through the door. Every person you interact with has the potential to influence your chances of landing the job. Especially the person at the front desk. You can be 100% sure the hiring manager is going to ask them about their impression of you. So be nice to everyone you meet because they’re definitely going to compare notes on you. Wouldn’t you like it to be positive?
Turn Off Your Phone – I don’t mean put it on vibrate. I mean turn it off. Nothing is more distracting in an interview than hearing BUZZ BUZZ, BUZZ BUZZ over and over again. And can you really concentrate on what the person across the table is saying when your phone is blowing up in your pocket or your purse? Just turn it off and focus on the interview.
First Impression – When you finally meet your interviewer, confidence is key. You’ve earned the right to be in that room. So stand up, make eye contact, offer a firm handshake and smile like you’ve already got the job.
Build Some Rapport – Before you dive into your wealth of experience and knowledge, take some time to build rapport. Remember, you’re not the only candidate for the job and the competition has a quality background, too. So get the interviewer to talk about anything except the job or the company for a bit. The better the conversation, the more likely you are to stand out and show them you’re a friendly, interesting person who’s easy to connect with.
Your Body Language – While what you say is important for your success, your body language tells a story all its own. Good posture, active listening, nodding and eye contact tell the interviewer that you’re paying attention. But slouching, fidgeting in your chair, chewing gum or casting your gaze out the window lets them know you’d rather be anywhere but there.
Be Authentic and Honest – When you’re answering questions, always give honest, real answers. Be upbeat, confident and candid. Never tell lies or exaggerate. And focus on answers that show off your skills and experience but keep your answers short and focused.
Know Your Weakness – Almost every interview has some form of the question, “What’s your biggest weakness?” Be prepared to answer this question but avoid giving a canned answer. The trick is to give an answer that shows how you overcame your deficiency. Tell them your concern and what you’re doing to overcome it.
Ask the Hard Question – As you’re wrapping up the interview, take a moment and ask the question that takes guts to put out there. Ask the interviewer if there’s anything you’ve said or presented that has given them any doubt about if you’re the right person for the job. It shows them you’re serious about the job and you’re looking to improve yourself.
Inquire About the Next Step – It seems simple, but so many people forget to ask about the next step. This should give you a timeline of when to expect a second interview or when they expect to make a decision.
Send a Thank You Note – After the interview is done and you’ve gone home, send the interviewer a thank you note. A real, old-fashioned, pen-and-paper, ‘gotta-go-to-the-post-office-to-buy-a-stamp’ thank you card. Keep it short and sweet. Thank them for their time and remind them that you’re interested in the position.
Leave Them Alone – This is probably the hardest thing to do after a good interview but once you send your thank you note, leave them alone to do their thing. If you start bugging them about the position, you could come off as annoying, demanding or desperate and that’s a sure fire way to be dropped from consideration. So play it cool and let the job offer come to you.