You’ve applied for the job, gone through the preliminary phone interview and now you have to come in for a face-to-face interview to learn more about your background. The thought of that can sometimes be nerve-wracking – but don’t worry, we’re here to help you ace that interview!
When it comes to a successful interview, everyone gives a little bit different advice but there’s definitely a clear path towards dazzling a recruiter and building the next step of your career.
What To Wear For Your Interview
Everyone is at a different level in their career, so when walking through the door to your interview, not everyone will need to present themselves with the same level of attire. If you’re mulling over what you should wear, we always recommend planning to be overdressed.
“You want to be an individual and show your style but at the same time you don’t want to be underdressed,” said Teresa Mangano, Recruiting and Team Development Professional for Zoom Drain. “You can never be overdressed – plan on being overdressed as opposed to going for the more casual side. A clean appearance, well-groomed, is also a good thing – it’s important!”
Looking clean, well-groomed and put together can go a long way towards helping you to secure your desired position. That means, to avoid displaying a lack of professionalism, steer clear of baseball caps, jeans and hooded sweatshirts. First impressions are important – so is your look.
Ask Questions, Be Engaged With Your Interviewer
While you don’t want to continuously interrupt your interviewer, when the time comes, have some questions at the ready – about their business, the position and anything else that might be pertinent to the role. It shows the interviewer that you’ve taken the time to do a little research and you understand the general overview of their business. It doesn’t have to be too extensive.
“It’s very important to see [interviewees] engaging and asking questions,” added Mangano. “Have a minimum of four questions prepared, that way if one or two are answered, you still have that backup – but you definitely want to project that you are engaged, you are interested and you did research. There’s so much information out there now that you can access pretty easily.”
Avoid using terms or phrases that might indicate a lack of effort, or even interest. At no point in the hiring process does an interviewer want to hear that you “didn’t have time” when it came to filling out the appropriate paperwork or looking over things specific to that particular position.
Think About Your Responses – But Be Concise
When you’re asked a question, project a clear and concise answer – it means you’ve taken the time to think about it. But don’t fret about feeling the need to stop, take a few seconds and contemplate your answer. That’s completely normal and can actually work to your benefit.
“I like when I ask a question and someone stops and goes, ‘Oh that’s a hard one!’ They take that second to think about it. That’s not a bad thing – people get nervous when they don’t have the answer. It’s OK not to have the answer, because you’re thinking about it and it’s going to be more honest. I don’t need them to blurt out two words and then call it a day,” admits Mangano.
Using your own, creative answers is also something recruiters look for in a candidate. Although it doesn’t hurt to have prepped answers to generic questions, try not to sound like a robot who is giving the same answer as the rest of the candidates. Instead, be who you are – it’ll best show off your personality and, in the long run, that’s what will really make you stand out of the crowd.
Do You Need Copies Of Your Resume?
Bringing copies of your resume for the interviewers to look over is not necessary, though it can give you some bonus points. In today’s digital age, everything lives online or in the cloud and recruiters will typically pull up your resume during the interview. However, there are often times where maybe they’re unable to get to the digital copy of your resume, for whatever reason.
Having a copy at the ready shows preparedness and is a good sign you’ll be the right fit.
“There are definitely times where my system is just frozen and I can’t print it out for that interview and having the interviewee say, ‘Do you need a copy?’ is great,” said Mangano.
Ask What Happens Moving Forward
As the interview winds down, ask where to go from there and what the next steps forward would be. It’s not a negative if you don’t, it just helps to further emphasize your interest and willingness to get started working immediately. While you’re at it, send a follow-up email in the days following your interview. It keeps you on their mind and can really go a long way in getting hired.
The follow-up email doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just thank them for their time.
“I love follow-up emails,” said Mangano. “They show that the candidate is really interested and it’s a really nice gesture. And I do remember those people who send a thank you letter, even if it’s a week afterwards – I do remember those people. It’s just one more way to stand out!”
Most Importantly, Just Be Yourself
Your resume might have gotten you to the interview stage but it’s your personality and creativity that will help you get the position. Just make sure you’re honest. Everyone has weaknesses, and that’s fine, don’t be embarrassed or try to hide them because, in the long run, if you’re working in a team atmosphere, there will be others around you to help turn them into strengths.
Throughout your interview, try to relax. Appearing nervous is fine but it can sometimes throw you off of your game. Take a deep breath – you’re going to crush it. Worry less about always providing the perfect answer and more on being in the moment and just having a conversation.
“I try to make it a conversation and not just 20 questions,” Mangano said. “I like to make it more conversational and as relaxed and as comfortable as I can. I want you to tell me about yourself.”