Don’t Push Your Luck: Top 5 Job Interview Tips
In the spirit of St. Patty’s Day, let’s have a wee gab about luck. Whether you’re graduating from college or uni in the next couple of months or just looking for new opportunities, relying on luck to ace your interview means relying on dumb luck. And if that’s what you’re doing, then chances are only half of that phrase applies to you. Never go into an interview unprepared. If you want to keep a four-leaf clover in your drawers to be safe, that’s your business. But make sure you bolster it with these – our top five ways to ensure a successful interview:
Know the company
This sounds like one of those “duh” tips, but it’s important to stress because far too many candidates do little to no research on the organization they’re interviewing with. And it’s not hard to do – just check out their website. Familiarize yourself with their products and/or services, their leadership team, their locations, and their latest press releases. Review the job posting you applied to and see if there are elements within it and in your past experiences that you can tie into what you’ve learned about the organization. If an opportune moment arises that allows you to speak to that connection, it’ll convey that you have a vision for how you fit in and how you’ll contribute to the bottom line.
Know yourself and the role
We’re not talking about knowing yourself in that existential backpacking through Europe sense. We’re talking about knowing exactly what’s in your resume and cover letter and how it relates to the role you applied to. Again, “duh”, right? After all, who doesn’t know their own past work experience or the job they applied to. Well, if you’ve take an impulsive approach to job hunting (which isn’t recommended), you’d be surprised how easily things blend together. Keep records of all the postings you’ve applied to, and, depending on the one you’re interviewing for, memorize the most relevant experiences you have so that you can highlight them. Ideally, this is something you will have already done in your application. Still, it’s worth going over, especially if you did manage to land an interview with a relatively standard application.
Make eye-contact and be aware of body language
Making regular eye-contact conveys confidence and self-esteem. Think about how weird it would be to meet someone for the first time who decides to stare at the ground or look around you when they shake your hand. Sure they may be shy, but they may also come off uninterested or even contemptuous. Don’t be that person. Similarly, facial expressions and body language play a huge role. Smile to show that you’re approachable and happy to be there. Also make sure you sit up straight; slouching, like lack of eye-contact, conveys indifference.
Express the right attitude
Your attitude is determined both by what you say and how you appear. In addition to the advice above, make sure you’re enthusiastic and that you listen to what’s being asked of you so that you can provide the most relevant answers. That said, it’s also important to be personable. Try to spark some laughter without becoming too casual. To do that, follow the interviewer’s lead. If they come off as very straight-laced, don’t overdo it. Also make sure you’re ready to answer challenging questions. If there are holes in your resume or it sounds like they’re questioning your qualifications, remain positive, explain how you’ve improved in certain areas and reinforce why the role interests you. Practice with a friend beforehand so that you’re prepared. Finally, they say the clothes make the man (or woman), and as superficial as that sounds, it’s unfortunately true. Dress for success (nothing too tight, casual, revealing, or flashy) and keep the cologne/perfume to a minimum.
Sometimes, you’re so relieved that the interview’s over that, even if it went really well, you’re tempted to just wait around to hear back (or not). Too many fail to follow up with a thank you note after an interview. Many experts recommend a snail-mailed letter because it conveys effort or genuineness. However, many others argue that a well-written email is perfectly acceptable. You may also want to consider a follow-up call, but only after more than a week of not hearing back so that you can get updated on the status of the position and your chances of getting it. A letter, mail or email, should be sent at least the day after the interview.
So, before you put too much faith in lucky charms, remember that a rabbit’s foot around the neck is certainly not proper interview attire. Also, remember this old Irish proverb: The believer is happy; the doubter is wise.