Forbes magazine states that it takes just seven seconds for someone to develop a first impression of you. Your appearance is a crucial part of your interview preparation. Ensure that you are dressed appropriately in appropriate office attire, or suitable clothing for the work environment. Your mannerisms and behavior are also under scrutiny in these vital first few seconds; therefore, be sure to shake hands, have a poised demeanor, and sit in a manner that demonstrates that you are interested, attentive, and ready to listen. Follow these tips to impress your interviewers and to stand out from the other candidates:
- Conduct in-depth research and arrive at the interview armed with information. Read the company website and prepare appropriate questions to ask the interviewers. Request the names of the interviewers before the date of the interview and look them up on LinkedIn. You might find a connection that, if casually mentioned during the interview, may make you stand out.
- Examine the job description and anticipate questions that the interviewer may ask. Rehearse responses and consider the best way to present your strengths. With respect to weaknesses, be honest, but use examples that illustrate how you are able to overcome them.
- Expect questions that ask you to describe previous work situations and how you handled them; behavioral interviews are common. Have five or six examples prepared that you can use that showcase your value to the organization. Tell a memorable story that will leave a positive impression.
- Be sure to take copies of your resume, portfolio, and references.
- Take notes only to ask pertinent questions later. At the end of the interview, gather contact information so that you can send a thank-you note to each interviewer; email is acceptable.
Interviewers should not ask questions that relate to age, race, religion, veteran status, marital status, medical conditions and disabilities. Answer these questions tactfully if they come up but consider it an indicator that the employer may not be for you. Enjoy the experience. An interview is valuable experience; whether you land the job or not it will boost your confidence for the next.
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