The best, and the worst, part of job hunting is the interview. It’s when you get to show your strengths, elaborate on the skills you’ve outlined in your resume, and really blow a prospective employer out of the water. But it’s also where you can embarrass yourself or sell yourself short.
No one is a pro at interviewing at first. In fact, it’s normal to be nervous. But being nervous doesn’t mean you’re going to fail.
So instead of staying up all night worrying about your interview, let us help you prepare. Here are 10 tips from our recruiters on how to nail your interview and get your dream job.
Hopefully you already did some research into the job before you sent in your resume. But now that you’ve landed the interview, it’s time to really dig into what you may be getting yourself into. So, start by re-reading the job posting!
Check out the company website next. Then move to LinkedIn and see what their employees care about. Glassdoor is a good way to see what their employees have said about them and doing a quick search on Google News will tell you what they’ve been up to lately.
Take notes and bring them to the interview with you as potential talking points. You’ll look very well-informed and well-prepared to your interviewer!
9. Practice, practice, practice.
You only get to be good at interviews by practicing. And whether it’s with a partner or just in the mirror, practice makes perfect!
Ask yourself some questions that an interviewer might ask. Like, what are your strengths? When was a time that you failed and how did you recover? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Practice answering those questions until you don’t have to think about your answers anymore. Knowing yourself in an interview makes you look confident even if you’re not.
8. Get a good night’s sleep.
Nothing prepares you for a stressful day ahead like a good night’s sleep. Not only does it help your mind stay sharp, but it keeps you looking vibrant and youthful!
Go to bed early if you can manage and set your alarm to have more than enough time to get ready. And don’t be afraid to pamper yourself a little. Wear the pajamas that help you wake up feeling on top of the world. Wear that eye mask to bed so you look your best in the morning. Break out the silk pillowcase for that fresh and clean vibe.
What not to do? Don’t take any meds you’re not used to in order to sleep. There’s nothing worse than oversleeping or having strange dreams that leave you tossing and turning through the night.
7. Dress to impress.
Whether the workplace is suit and tie formal or jeans and a t-shirt casual, you always want to put your best foot forward. Because your interview may be your only opportunity to make an impression.
A dark suit and a crisp shirt are the go-to interview wear, and you can’t go wrong with it. And if you don’t have a suit, a blazer and dress pants will work just as well.
If you really want to stand out, incorporate a “point of interest” into your outfit, like a statement necklace, a colorful pocket square, or a designer watch. Anything that shows your personality while still looking professional can work in your favor to help your interviewer remember you later. But don’t go too crazy! You don’t want your interviewer getting distracted.
6. Timing is everything.
They say showing up 15 minutes early is being on time. And showing up on time is late. And they’re right!
The best way to look prepared is to show up early to your interview. It shows you’ve allowed plenty of travel time and that you’re accommodating of your interviewer’s time.
And if you must be late due to unforeseen circumstance, call ahead! Give your interviewer plenty of time to accommodate as needed, or possibly reschedule if their day is booked.
5. Ask questions.
The thing about the interview is that it’s not just for an employer to gauge how you might work for them. It’s your chance to see if it’s truly a place you want to work!
Open the lines of communication by asking questions. Ask about the company culture, the different benefits of working for the company, and what the team you’ll be joining is like.
Not only will it make you seem like you’ve prepared for the job, but asking questions makes you look genuinely engaged with your prospective future. And a company wants an engaged employee!
4. Stay hydrated.
When your interviewer asks if you’d like a bottle of water, say yes! Not only will it help with the dreaded nervous dry mouth, but it will keep you hydrated if you’re a nervous sweater.
Plus, having that water bottle gives you something to do with your hands. If you’re a nervous hair twirler or a fidgeter, holding that water will keep you aware of what your hands are doing so as not to give away your nerves.
It can also help you stall for time while you’re thinking about an answer to a question. If you’re not sure about an answer right away, take a sip!
3. Smile like you mean it.
Nothing will tank an interview harder than looking like you don’t want to be there. Because no interviewer wants to waste their time with a prospective employee who isn’t serious about the job.
So smile—with your teeth! Even if you’re wearing a mask, really smile. A real smile will reach your eyes, making you look warm and friendly and happy to be there. And it will help open yourself up and relax into the situation.
You’re at the interview to make a good impression, and nothing makes a good impression like a smile.
2. Make them remember you!
The most important aspect of your interview is to make an impression. Being memorable is what will have them calling you back—either for a follow-up interview or a job offer!
The best way to make them remember you is to send a thank you. Just a simple note thanking them for their time, mentioning something you talked about during the interview, and how much you’re looking forward to talking again about the job is enough. It doesn’t need to be long!
Feel out the company to see if a handwritten note is appropriate, otherwise an email is usually the accepted form of thank you.
1. Follow up.
Has it been two weeks since your interview and still no word about the job? Send a follow-up email!
If you sent your thank you email, reply to that with a quick follow-up to check in. Don’t be pushy, just ask if there are any updates on the position and let them know you’re available for any additional questions. Then thank them for their time again and that you hope to talk soon.
This final follow-up shows you’re still interested and that you’re responsible about following up on tasks. So don’t skimp on the final step!