My sweet and smart intern had her first post-college job interview this week and she asked me for advice and any tips I had to help her ace the interview. Our conversations over the week inspired this post.
I’m no expert, but my first tip is, don’t google, “interview tips,” because you’re going to drown in an overload of basic information like, “wear a blazer and make sure your perfume isn’t too strong.” Duh! So here’s six interview tips, from me, that you probably didn’t think of.
1. Don’t swivel.
A former boss of mine taught me this while conducting a mock interview with me (you know who you are). (: It has stuck with me ever since!
If you find yourself in your interview sitting in a rolling chair, don’t swivel! Swiveling in a rolling chair is a natural instinct, especially when you are nervous. However, it is distracting and can come off as unprofessional. Sit up straight, still, but relaxed and confident. Now that I have the opportunity to be on the other side of the desk on occasion, the more and more I thank my former boss for teaching me, “Don’t swivel!”
Don’t swivel! You can do it.
2. Pause before answering a question immediately.
Nobody likes word vomit!
So, you’ve just been asked a question that caught you off guard. You don’t know the answer…what do you do?! First of all, don’t panic. Second, it is totally okay to pause and say, “that’s a great question,” and gather your thoughts into a clear concise answer. Naturally, we tend to feel the need to answer questions immediately, but that can turn into word vomit very quickly…and no one likes word vomit.
3. Know the company culture.
If tattoos or facial piercings, aren’t allowed, it’s probably not a good idea to show up to your interview with tattoos or facial piercings showing.
As you are prepping for an interview, part of your research about the company you are interviewing with, should be about the company’s culture. What is important to the company? What are their goals and standards? Is there anything specific regarding dress that is not allowed?
Knowing or not knowing anything about the company’s culture can make or break your interview. I’ve seen it happen. Awkward.
4. Get yourself together.
Dress the part, look the part, be the part.
Get yourself together! Dress the part, look the part, be the part. Be prepared—beyond the research preparation, appearance preparation is equally as important. Although sad, but true, first impressions are often based on your outward appearance. Get your self together! Manicure, pedicure, showered, well groomed, and dressed to the nines. Carry a nice work bag and have your resume inside, just in case.
I can remember interviewing a young lady and her appearance immediately distracted our team. Facial piercings, tattoos, and a skirt that was much too tight and much too short. Appearance is important.
5. Be yourself, be genuine, be kind.
Everybody is a somebody who matters.
Don’t try to be something you’re not. Be yourself, and if appropriate, show a little of your personality. Be real, and most of all be kind to EVERYONE. When arriving, introduce yourself to the office manager/admin assistant at the front desk. If appropriate, strike up a genuine conversation. I’ve seen it one too many times…the boss asking the admin assistant how the candidate’s demeanor was when they entered. Were they polite and professional? Or, were they on their phone… it makes a difference!
6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
One more time for the people in the back, THANK YOU!
Right after your interview email a thank you note and hand-write a thank you note and send immediately thanking the person(s) for their time and the opportunity to interview for the position.