In my short 22 years, I’ve applied for over 100 jobs, had countless face-to-face, skype and phone interviews, and received dozens of rejection emails. Because of this, I’d like to think I’m somewhat of a professional interviewee at this point. And after nearly a year of job searching, I finally discovered the secrets of the interview process, built up my confidence and landed my dream job (which I will be telling you guys about in a few weeks!) Here are my tips for getting the most out of your interview:
1. Get up. Get dressed — This is a given. Please wear clothes to your interview. But really, if your interview is at 10 a.m., get up early enough to take a shower, make a nice breakfast, get in some exercise and review your notes. Now when I say “get dressed,” I don’t mean to throw on a wrinkled top and the same slacks you’ve been wearing for a week straight because you’re too lazy to drop them off at the dry cleaners. Putting some effort into your appearance is vital to your interview, because your interviewers will remember the polished girl with the bright smile as opposed to the frumpy girl who looks like she forgot to brush her hair.
But what if it’s a Skype or a phone interview? Get dressed anyway. Put in the same amount of effort as a face-to-face interview because it will get you in the right professional mindset.
2. Don’t be boring. Let your personality shine — Interviews don’t have to be boring, you don’t have to be a robot. The interviewer doesn’t like interviewing people any more than you hate being interviewed. Smile, drop your shoulders (but keep your posture!), crack a few jokes, be yourself and don’t forget to breathe. My biggest tip would be to have fun with it, which sounds crazy but you have to make it fun in order to really shine through to your interviewers. They’ll remember the candidate with the big smile and calm nerves. Trust me.
3. Google the company and the interviewer — This seems like a given, but a lot of people forget to do this and it costs them the job. I’m guilty of this too! You have to know at least the basics of the company, some background on the interviewer and some of the main responsibilities of the job you’re applying for. They want to know why you want to work for them, what you can offer them and how they will benefit if they hire you. So be sure to highlight that information in your interview.
4. Ask them as many questions as they ask you — This interview is not just for them to get to know you, but also for you to get to know them. Even if you could have found some of the information online, ask them anyway because it shows your interest in the position and that you’re taking this seriously. At the end of the interview, they will ask if you have any questions for them. The answer is always, always YES. Always ask questions. I’ve made the mistake of giving them an answer like, “Nope, you answered all my questions already.” Your interview could have been perfect, but that one sentence will ruin your chances. So always ask questions, even if you think they’re silly questions.
5. Send thank you notes — Immediately after your interview, pop a few thank you notes in the mail to your interviewer, the secretary, the editor-in-chief, whoever is in charge of the hiring process. This will make a lasting impression, and even if you don’t get the job, they’ll remember you and might call you back for another position. Plus, it’s a humane thing to do. Good karma, right?
6. Print out copies of your resume and work samples — If they’re calling you in for an interview, they already have your resume, but it can’t hurt to bring a few extra copies. Plus, it’s nicer to have a hard copy, and they’ll appreciate the time you took to print them out some copies. For extra brownie points, provide them with your resume, work samples and references in a neatly bound portfolio. You’re welcome.
7. Do NOT tweet, Facebook or blog about your interview — Your interviewer will Google you as soon as your interview is over, and if they see that you’ve been live-tweeting your interview-woes, they’re not going to consider you as a candidate. So please, get a journal and keep it to yourself.
What are your tips for a successful interview?