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So you’ve put together a great resume, found a promising job lead, and completed your application. Nailing that interview is all that stands between you and getting a great job.
Here are some tips to help you impress the interviewers with your confidence, poise and competence.
Dress for the part
In “Marketing Yourself, Part 2: The Unwritten Dress Code: How to Dress for the Job Interview,” Kathleen Jahn Schmalz recommends:
- Stay away from bright colors like oranges and yellows, and choose more traditional colors like navy or charcoal.
- Keep jewelry and makeup simple.
- Choose clothing that won’t draw focus away from you and instead direct it to your attire.
- Pay attention to details like shoes, and make sure your shoes don’t look scuffed or worn.
- When in doubt, opt for the more conservative outfit.
Be aware of your body language
Verbal communication accounts for only a small portion of our communication. That’s why it’s crucial to take care to communicate the right things in a job interview.
Jean Ann Cantore’s “Interview Tips” in Career World says that “nonverbal cues such as your appearance and how you conduct yourself don’t take any extra time during an interview, but they sure do affect how an interviewer perceives you.” Here are some basic nonverbal cues to be aware of:
- Look the interviewer in the eye and smile when you first meet.
- Shake hands firmly.
- Don’t slouch in your seat.
- Make sure that you are looking at the interviewer and not gazing around the room or getting distracted. You don’t want to appear disinterested in what’s being said.
- Try not to fidget, touch your face, or pick at your nails while you talk. These behaviors show a lack of confidence.
- Turn toward the interviewer and not to the side. You don’t want to appear to be trying to escape the situation.
Other basic tips
- Arrive a few minutes early.
- Turn off the cellphone.
- Give a copy of your resume to each person interviewing you.
- Get a friend to help you by asking questions that you might encounter.
- You might want to videotape yourself to give yourself an idea of what you need to work on.
Need more advice? This website is a great resource for finding questions that you may be asked during the interview. Check out this article and this one, too. A little preparation can really boost your confidence.
There’s a growing trend among employers to ask questions that focus on character, so be prepared for questions that ask what you might do if an ethical dilemma comes up. Think through a few ethical challenges that could arise at the job you are looking at, and be prepared to give a good answer that will show your character and capability.
Be sure to give positive answers to any questions. You are selling yourself, so make sure to think about your strengths and be ready to portray them.
Job interviews can be stressful and a little scary. We have to sell ourselves and convince an employer that we are better than the competition in a very short amount of time. With a little practice and some basic tips, you can successfully give a great interview.