There’s a lot of information on the web about preparing for an interview, but I find most of it unhelpful. Here are some real-life, tried and true tips for rocking an interview.
Plan Your Outfit Accordingly
- Wearing neutral colors is okay, but not if you want to stand out.
- I wore a red, button-up blouse to my last two job interviews and landed both jobs. Red is an appealing color to both genders, which makes it a good color.
- Red not for you? Wear colors that suit your skin/eyes/hair. This improves your overall appearance, and knowing you look good can make you feel confident.
- Use minimal makeup and a neutral nail color. It’s a job interview, not a night club.
- Keep your hair out of your face. Avoid other accessories that might cause you to fidget with them, which makes you look nervous and distracted.
Psych Yourself up
- Research the company beforehand and consider ways that your knowledge and skills can be applied to this particular company/industry. This will be important later.
- Use the travel time to your interview to do what centers you and/or pumps you up, whether it’s singing in your car to your favorite song, listening to calming music, or dancing around.
- Remind yourself that you know what you’re doing, and you have no reason to be nervous.
- Compare the interview to something much harder. For example, my personal comparison is, "This is nothing compared to jumping out of a plane attached to someone I just met."
Use Nonverbal Body Language
- Never dead-fish anyone. When shaking hands, use a firm, confident grip. (Applies to men and women.)
- Steepling your fingers together while answering a question makes you appear more confident and shows you feel strongly about what you’re saying.
- Maintain polite eye contact and avoid darting your eyes around the room nervously.
- Keep your limbs to your sides (such as on arm rests), and keep your torso open. It makes you look like a more open, friendly person.
- If you are hand-talker, keep your palms up to convey openness. Palms down conveys dominance and should be avoided.
Talk up the Company, Not Yourself
- Companies don’t care about what you want, they want to know what you can do for them.
- Now is the time to use your ideas and apply them to the company. Talk about the ideas and build off other ideas that might be brought up.
- Using real-life examples helps to show your critical thinking skills and proves you know how to apply your skills to real-life situations.
- Managers are interested in people who will fit in with the rest of the employees. While you should always be yourself, you can still gauge the interviewers to determine which parts of your personality you should make shine, such as your creativity, your work ethic, your humor, etc.
- Don’t lie. Just. Don’t. Any well-seasoned human will see right through it.