Interview Tips to make a Great Impression
You’ve spent days preparing. You’ve read up on the company. You’ve perfected your handshake, and your outfit is on point. When the time finally comes, you feel ready to take on the interview…and then you show up as an awkward, lesser-version of yourself. don’t worry here are some Interview Tips to make a Great Impression.
As a career coach, I empower my clients to take control of their job search and step into their interviews with confidence. At the start, most of them approach job-hunting with a similar timid, nervous, or pessimistic attitude. Trust me when I say that this energy can be felt throughout the process, and your interviewers won’t get to experience the best version of you. Interviews take preparation and practice (as well as a bit more positivity)!
Here are five common interview mistakes that I’ve seen time and time again. All of these can be easily avoided if you prepare and know what to look out for.
1. Showing up earlier than necessary.
9:30 am means 9:30 am, or 10 minutes earlier at most. While you definitely don’t want to be late, you also don’t want to keep announce your presence earlier than necessary. It will only stress your interviewer out, which is not a great way to get started. Respect your future employer’s schedule. Get to the location early, but wait in the car or freshen up in the restroom until it’s go time.
2. Ignoring the company culture.
First impressions are everything. Are you interviewing at a formal corporation or at a trendy startup? Is everyone in suits, business casual, or shorts and flip-flops? While I don’t encourage you to show up too casual, do your research beforehand and get a feel for the environment. This will ensure you not only show up dressed appropriately (either in a suit or something more business casual), but you’ll also get an idea of how you’ll fit in there and how the interview process will flow. Will it be extremely formal or more laidback? If you know someone that works there, try to get an understanding of the environment beforehand and prepare accordingly.
3. Complaining about your current or former job.
Whatever you do, please do not talk trash about your former boss, colleague, or work environment. The last thing your prospective employer wants to hear is that you are a whiner. It doesn’t matter how bad your previous place of employment was. Try to keep a positive spin on things. What did you learn from the experience? How can you prevent that situation from happening again? Incorporate that mentality in your responses, and don’t bring the conversation down with bad vibes.
4. Not giving yourself enough credit.
You got to the interview for a reason. They already saw something in you, based on your resume, credentials, or a phone interview. Now is your chance to bring your personality and credibility to life by highlighting your achievements. Showcase what you’ve done on a group project, or discuss your insane knack for cost savings. Remember, this isn’t being boastful; it’s simply letting them know what you have to offer. Don’t downplay your accomplishments. They want to hire someone who isn’t afraid to contribute.
5. Discussing money too early.
Let the employer bring up finances. Better yet, leave that discussion for a call with HR. If they do ask what you’re looking for during the interview, tell them you’re negotiable based on the range…and then get down to business when the offer finally comes in. There is no need to get hung up on the details when you aren’t even sure if the job is a match for what you. Don’t send your employer running the opposite direction by focusing on material aspects only. There’s a time and a place for salary negotiation.
When it comes down to it, interviews can be stressful, but they don’t have to rule you. You CAN survive and overcome a tough job hunt. Use your common sense, put in the work beforehand, and show up (not too early) as the best version of yourself. If you can keep a positive attitude throughout the process, and avoid making these common mistakes, your interviewers will take notice.
6. Be Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise
Once the interview starts, the key to success is the quality and delivery of your responses. Your goal should always be authenticity, responding truthfully to interview questions. At the same time, your goal is to get to the next step, so you’ll want to provide focused responses that showcase your skills, experience, and fit with the job and the employer. Provide solid examples of solutions and accomplishments but keep your responses short and to the point.
By preparing responses to common interview questions (see #2), you’ll ideally avoid long, rambling responses that bore interviewers. Always attempt to keep your interview responses short and to the point. Finally, no matter how much an interviewer might bait you, never badmouth a previous employer, boss, or co-worker. The interview is about you and making your case that you are the ideal candidate for the job.
7. Remember the Importance of Body Language
While the content of your interview responses is paramount, poor body language can be a distraction at best or a reason not to hire you at worst. Effective forms of body language include smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening, and nodding. Detrimental forms of body language include slouching, looking off in the distance, playing with a pen, fidgeting in a chair, brushing back your hair, touching your face, chewing gum, or mumbling.
8. Ask Insightful Questions
Studies continually show that employers make a judgment about an applicant’s interest in the job by whether or not the interviewee asks questions. Thus, even if the hiring manager was thorough in his or her discussions about the job opening and what is expected, you must ask a few questions. This shows that you have done your research and that you are curious. The smart job seeker prepares questions to ask days before the interview, adding any additional queries that might arise from the interview.
9. Sell Yourself and then Close the Deal
The most qualified applicant is not always the one who is hired; the winning candidate is often the jobseeker who does the best job responding to interview questions and showcasing his or her fit with the job, department, and organization. Some liken the job interview to a sales call. You are the salesperson and the product you are selling to the employer is your ability to fill the organization’s needs, solve its problems, propel its success.
Finally, as the interview winds down, ask about the next steps in the process and the timetable in which the employer expects to use to make a decision about the position.
10. Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email, or Postal Mail
Common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; thus, the importance of thanking each person who interviews you should come as no surprise. Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you before you leave. Writing thank-you emails or notes shortly after the interview will not get you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other finalists who didn’t bother to send thank-you notes.