Nailing the interview is usually the first thing people think of when they try to figure out how to land a new job. By now, you’ve seen the 3 steps that preceded this: write a killer resume; use your network; and prepare for the interview. Now that you’ve made it to the interview, the best thing you can do is relax and be yourself! Read on below for the 5 tips on how to nail your interview!
I’ll continue sharing each of the 5 steps with you in a series over the next 2 weeks, but if you are one of those people who want it all at once, email us and we can send you the guide now!
Step 4: Nail Your Interview
1. Take Care of Your Needs. Before you arrive at the location of your interview, do a double check to make sure that all your physical and personal needs are taken care of. This includes making sure you’ve had enough sleep, enough water, you’ve gone to the restroom, you have a writing utensil and paper, and that you feel generally prepared. And be sure to arrive at least 5 minutes early so you don’t feel rushed. Having these items taken care of can put your mind at ease and keep you from being distracted.
2. Dress the Part. When the interview is set up, be sure to ask your contact what the dress code is for the organization so you know how others will be dressed. Think about what to wear that will help you feel the most successful. For me, I would always prefer to be over dressed than under dressed. What you are wearing will be one of the first impressions you make on anyone you meet. My recommendation is that you wear something you feel good in and looks sharp so that your first impression is positive.
3. Infuse Calm. Being nervous is common and something everyone feels before going into an interview. The key is finding ways to not have it be obvious to others.
Right before you walk in, and before the start of each discussion, find a way to calm yourself down. That could be something simple like lowering your caffeine intake for the day. Or, it could mean you practice some deep breathing. Whatever works for you, plan to insert it throughout the day to help calm your nerves.
4. Remember the Interview is a Two-Way Street. As much as you are excited for the interview, remember that this process is as much about you deciding whether you want to work there as it is about whether they want to hire you. You should go into the interview with an open mind and be yourself in an authentic and genuine way. As tempting as it is, don’t try to fit the mold of what you think they want. If you are genuine and they love you, it will probably be good long-term. If you pretend to be something you are not and they hire you, it may always feel like it’s not a natural fit. Better to know before you’ve started the job if you are going to like it there.
5. Ask Good Questions. In the last blog on preparing for the interview, I recommended you have 3-5 good questions. Be sure to include questions that help you uncover how good of a match this position is for you. This can include questions to assess the following: is the culture of the organization something you will thrive in; does the position include duties you want to do; and will the manager provide you the support and development you are looking for. Ask as many questions as it takes for you to get comfortable that you want the position.
While the interview is what most people are nervous about, try to remember that the interview is really just a discussion to help determine if this is a good match for everyone involved – you included!
Next up in this series – what to do after the interview. In the meantime, good luck at the interview!
Jennifer is a seasoned leader and executive coach with over 20 years experience including as a Chief Human Resources Officer overseeing the HR and Communications functions. She is an Associate Certified Coach through ICF.
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