Practice good nonverbal communication
It’s about demonstrating confidence: standing straight, making eye contact and connecting with a firm handshake. That first nonverbal impression can be a great beginning—or quick ending—to your interview.
Dress for the job or company
Today’s casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to know what to wear to an interview and to be well-groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call to find out about the company dress code before the interview.
One of the most crucial interview tips: Listen. From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not hearing it, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer, and match that style and pace.
Don’t talk too much
Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time, you may ramble when answering interview questions, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position’s requirements and relating only that information.
Don’t be too familiar
The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer’s demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.
Use appropriate language
It’s a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics, or sexual orientation—these topics could send you out the door very quickly.
Don’t be cocky
Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism, and modesty. Even if you’re putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved. All the interview tips in the world won’t save you if you come off as unpleasant to work with.
Take care to answer the questions
When interviewers ask for an example of a time when you did something, they are asking behavioral interview questions, which are designed to elicit a sample of your past behavior. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only don’t answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills.
When asked if they have any questions, most candidates answer, “No.” Wrong answer. Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions that demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what you’re asked during the interview and asking for additional information.
Don’t appear desperate
When you interview with the “please, please hire me” approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Reflect the three Cs during the interview: cool, calm, and confident.
Bonus tip: Work on your answers
You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can, too. One way to do this is by preparing well-thought-out answers to questions they’re most likely to ask. Need some help with that? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll get interview tips, career advice, and job search insights sent directly to your inbox so you can come across as a strong, viable candidate. From ice breakers (“Tell me about yourself”) to the nitty-gritty (“What’s your biggest weakness?”), Monster’s expert advice can help you craft answers that highlight your skills and eagerness to get the job.
Review common interview questions.
Practice answering them with someone else or in front of a mirror. Come prepared with stories that relate to the skills that the employer wants, while emphasizing your:
- Willingness to work and flexibility
- Leadership skills
- Ability and willingness to learn new things
- Contributions to the organizations in which you have worked or volunteered
- Creativity in solving problems and working with people
Figure out in advance how well you qualify for the job. For each requirement listed in the job posting, write down your qualifications. This can show you if you lack a particular skill. Plan how you will address this in the interview so you can convince the interviewer that you can learn the skill.
Make a list of questions that you would like to ask during the interview.
Pick questions that will demonstrate your interest in the job and the company. This might include commenting on the news you learned from the company website, and then asking a question related to it. Also ask questions about the job you will be expected to perform, like:
What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
How will my responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
Could you explain your organizational structure?
What computer equipment and software do you use?
What is the organization’s plan for the next five years?
Remember to bring important items to the interview:
Notebook and pens
Extra copies of your resume and a list of references
Copies of letter(s) of recommendation, licenses, transcripts, etc.
Portfolio of work samples
On the day of the interview, remember to
Plan your schedule so you arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.
Go by yourself.
Look professional. Dress in a manner appropriate to the job.
Leave your MP3 player, coffee, soda, or backpack at home or in your car.
Turn off your cell phone.
Bring your sense of humor and SMILE!
Display confidence during the interview
but let the interviewer start the dialogue. Send a positive message with your body language.
- Shake hands firmly, but only if a hand is offered to you first.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Listen carefully. Welcome all questions, even the difficult ones, with a smile.
- Give honest, direct answers.
- Develop answers in your head before you respond. If you don’t understand a question, ask for it to be repeated or clarified. You don’t have to rush, but you don’t want to appear indecisive.
End the interview with a good impression
A positive end to the interview is another way to ensure your success.
- Be courteous and allow the interview to end on time.
- Restate any strengths and experiences that you might not have emphasized earlier.
- Mention a particular accomplishment or activity that fits the job.
- If you want the job, say so!
- Find out if there will be additional interviews.
- Ask when the employer plans to make a decision.
- Indicate a time when you may contact the employer to learn of the decision.
Don’t forget to send a thank-you note or letter after the interview.