Interviews can be absolutely terrifying. You have to go talk to a complete stranger who holds your career paths’ fate! You are worrying about making a good first impression, you’re nervous about how fast you’re talking, you’re just nervous in general, you’re scared you won’t be able to answer all of the interviewer’s questions, and just doubting yourself all together! Here are some helpful tips and tricks to ease your interview nerves:
Before the Interview…
If You’re a Little Superstitious…
According to Glassdoor, the best time to have an interview is Tuesday at 10:30AM. By that time, your interviewer will have the stress of Monday behind them. That being said, avoid scheduling your interviews on Mondays or Fridays (the bookends of the week) and at the beginning of end of the work day (bookends of the day) as well as avoiding a lunchtime interview or immediately after lunch (no one can think straight in a food coma).
Do Your Research
Research the company and who is interviewing you. Savvy online searching can turn up valuable information on most companies. Knowing the company, industry, and the competitors will you feel more relaxed and make it easier to impress your interviewer.
Clean Up Your Social Media
You’ve heard it a million times, but once you put something out on the internet, it is there forever. 91% of employers search your social media for red flags.This is important because when you work for a company, you will always be representing that company whether you are work or not. Recruiters will reject a potential employee because of what they have found on their different social platforms, so if you clean up your social media you can create your first impression on your own terms.
Visualize and Rehearse in Advance
Rehearse the way you will present yourself and practice answers to important interview questions. If you need help visualizing potential questions, just google “(your position) interview questions” and a ton resources will come up to help you out. Mock interviews prepare you for most possibilities and help ease your nerves. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be.
Prepare Your Resume
Organize your resume and any other materials you’re taking with you. A folder to hold everything goes a long way!
Put Thought Into Your Appearance
First impressions definitely matter. Unless otherwise instructed, it is safe to dress professionally. Show up well dressed, well groomed, and in muted or neutral colors with minimal accessories. If you are a smoker or a coffee drinker or eat before your interview, use a mint or brush your teeth before starting. Do NOT chew gum and be conscious of how much perfume/cologne you wear. Remember to exude confidence! Smile and relax.
Arrive Early (But Not Too Early)
Arrive 5-10 minutes early. 5 minutes early sets the perfect cushion. Some interviewers are sticklers for time, and will notice when you are just a minute late, but that means they also may take into account if you show up early. Showing up a little early will give you time to reach your location without rushing.
Turn off your cell phone and any other electronics you may have on you--vibrate is not enough. Nothing is more uncomfortable and distracting when you can hear something vibrating in the middle of a (high stakes) conversation
At the Interview….
You are having a lot of information thrown at you throughout your interview, so it is very important you listen. Listening also shows that you have good nonverbal communication skills.
Make a Strong Introduction
Introduce yourself with a smile, a handshake (firm, but not too firm), relaxed and confident. First impressions happen within the first few seconds of your interaction with your interviewer, so make sure it is a solid one.
Self Explanatory. Do not chew gum, mints or candy during an interview.
Don't Talk Too Much
It is good to talk in an interview, but you do not want to ramble. Rambling can literally talk you out of the job. Prepare for the interview (like stated above), and stick to what the job position wants and match those points to your skill sets.
Prepare Some Good Questions
Good questions at the end of the interview demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the job. Some questions to consider are:
What’s a typical day for someone in this role?
What are some of the challenges facing the company?
Where do you see the company in 5-10 years?
What does success mean to you and to the company?
I believe I’m a great fit for this company. Is there anything else I can do to dispel any doubts?
How would you describe the work culture here?
Do you offer continuing education and professional training?
When can I expect to hear from you?
Ask About Next Steps
Asking about the follow up process demonstrates to your interviewer that you are pragmatic and serious about getting the position. Bonus tip: if your interviewer is enthusiastic with their response, that’s a sign that your interview went well.
After the Interview….
Follow Up, Follow Up, FOLLOW UP!
Always follow up an interview within 24 hours. E-mail each interviewer or (to really make a lasting impression) send a written thank-you card. This could be a deciding factor between you and another candidate.
Inside the email or letter, thank the interviewer for their time, reiterate your interest in the position, and mention something personal that was brought up in the interview if applicable.
Do Not Tweet
Or post, or update your status. No matter how badly you may want to update your social media, do not share details of your interview on the Internet. Your interviewer may be checking up on you online.