You’ve scored the interview and now you want to make the most of it. With so much at stake, acing the interview is hugely important and it can be nerve-wracking as well.
It’s essential to make the best possible first impression, so being prepared, on time and calm are keys to success.
- Look your very best. Hiring managers want to hire candidates who fit in with their team, so do a little research and determine what the dress code is where you’re interviewing. My advice is to take it up a notch from there, so if it’s business casual, add a little more polish, aka, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Adding a jacket can be a great way to up the professional polish a bit.
- Do your research. You’ll impress the interviewer if you’ve done your research on the company. First, look at their website and see what they are saying about themselves. Check the news and events sections for releases, updates and announcements. Then Google the company where you’re interviewing and find out what the industry leaders say about them. Research industry trends and have some statistics you can mention and you’ll have an impressed interviewer.
- Ask questions. Impress the interviewer by asking about the goals he or she has for the role you’re interviewing for. Keep it going by asking about the company’s overall goals, challenges and direction.
- Notice communication style. Mirroring the body language and speaking style can be a powerful tool for putting people at ease. If the interviewer speaks slowly and softly, tempering your own communication to complement that one will make them feel comfortable with you. Of course, use your own judgement on how much mirroring to do and avoid copycat behavior.
- Display confident body language. Even if you don’t feel confident. Your brain actually does not know the difference between when you are confident and are not. It only knows that when you sit comfortably, with legs uncrossed, arms by your side or open that you appear confident. Never slouch either. That shows disrespect, instead of confidence.
- Always write a thank you note. Did I say always? I mean ALWAYS! Send an email to the interviewer saying how much you enjoyed learning about the opening and the company’s business. Mention something specific you heard them say, ideally about the company or department’s needs. Then explain how you’re interested in exploring how you may be able to help the company with that initiative. Do not say you feel you are the perfect candidate because you don’t have all the information to make that claim and doing so will discredit you.
Unless you are not at all interested in pursuing things further with the company, your thank you email should always end with a question. The goal of an interview is to stay in the conversation and asking a question is an effective way to get a response. Ask just one question after you’ve stated your interest. Sometimes, interviewers will say they have other team members whom candidates need to meet. In that case, here’s an example for asking the follow-up question:
“I’m intrigued by the opportunity to help ‘The Firm’ conduct research on how big data may provide a new market opportunity and would love to meet with the other members of the team. What are our next steps?”
For more ideas on how to ace the interview, check out “The ABCs of Interviewing”
In her post, “5 Tips for Instant Interview Success”, Robin Rashawn of the US News and World Report says, “…walk through the office or suite door five minutes before your appointment.” Being late never makes a good impression and it always causes stress, which never helps anyone interview at the best.