I get it. Interviews can be stressful. Uncomfortable. Maybe even painful. Most of us don’t tend to look forward to them. Like a lot of things in life, we know we probably need to experience interviews at one point or another, but we wish we didn’t.
Before the interview, many of us would like to have the ‘answers to the test’ if you will. We want to know what we need to know or do in order to pass. Typically, that’s not exactly how it works. However, when figuring out how to be at your best during an interview, I think it’s good to break it down into three simple categories:
We’ve probably all heard this one, right? “Make sure to do some research before your interview”. Know about the company. Know about the position, but, do you know about yourself? That’s right. Know how to talk about your experience, your education, your accomplishments, and your next step in your career – things like that – and, with little effort. Though it’s a good idea to bring in a few copies of your resume, you really shouldn’t have to look at your own resume – that’s for the person/people interviewing you to review. Make sure you know what’s on there, plus be able to elaborate. Be able to hone in on key things you want your potential employer to know about. Make sure you can speak to key point about the employer as well as key points included in your own experience.
I’m sure you were taught good manner growing up, in the case of an interview, there is no different. Make eye contact, be respectful of others, speak with confidence, be poised, and dress the part. In fact, you probably want to step it up. Even if the position you are interviewing for doesn’t require something like a blazer, or a tie, or even nicely shined shoes, you probably want to dress a bit more professionally for your interview. And this isn’t just for office positions. When looking to fill more of the blue collar type of roles where it may be okay to wear jeans and a non-pressed shirt on the job, managers will tell me that they expect more during the interview. We’ve probably all heard it, but a reminder may not hurt – make a good first impression.
Remember, an interview is just a two-way conversation. People are having a dialog. It’s a dialog about the company, about the role, about you. Someone is getting to know more about you and fit for an open position, just like you are getting to know more about the company and the role as a possible fit for you. If you come in trying to play the part of the person that you ‘think’ the employer is looking for, not only do you take a big chance of being incorrect, more than likely it’s not an act that you’ll be able to keep up in the long run. Plus, if the employer isn’t truly looking for the real you, you’ve got to ask yourself if it’s truly the role you want. Ultimately, you should really be the best version of you. Once the right role and person come together, it’s a beautiful thing. You’ll see.