W.o.W. (5): Nailing the interview

Hey folks! We’re back with part five of our job search series, “Words of Wisdom (W.o.W.)”. This week, we’re helping you nail the in-person interview. We already covered your resume, your elevator pitch, and your outfit, now it’s time to think about making a good impression when you meet your interviewer.

Step 1: Self-Check

When you walk into a job interview make sure that your phone is away and that your person is put together. That means no crumbs from your breakfast on your suit, no coffee on your breath (brush your teeth before!), and no headphones dangling out of the side of your purse or your left pant pocket.

Step 2: The handshake

Chance are, you will walk into the building and check in with a receptionist. Tell them your name and explain that you’re there to interview with (*interviewer name*). They’ll probably ask you to have a seat and then you’ll wait patiently until your interviewer comes to get you.

When they enter the room, stand up, make eye contact, and shake their hand firmly. Don’t squeeze too hard, you don’t want to hurt them! But, show your confidence with a strong grasp. Use their name when you greet them and stand tall. The interviewer can tell a lot about you by your body language. Even if you’re feeling nervous (which is perfectly natural!), you want to act totally secure. Trust yourself. You’ve got this. Show the interviewer that you’re going to nail those questions.

Step 3: Remember your materials

Your interviewer has probably already seen your resume. However, it’s always smart to bring a few copies. You should print it on clean, white paper. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even print it on resume paper which is a bit sturdier than the average white sheet. Make sure to carry your resumes in a folder and deliver the interviewer a clean, wrinkle-free copy.

Step 4: the interview

The interview will begin with some casual banter. Welcome the opportunity to relax into the conversation. You’ve already prepared your elevator pitch. It’s a good idea to practice it the night before so that the words come easily on the day of the interview. When the interviewer prompts you to tell them about yourself, use concrete details, mention accomplishments, maintain consistent eye-contact and keep your pitch short and to the point.

Later in the interview, they will ask you why you want to work there. It’s important that you mention specific details about the job and the company, and then relate them to your background and experience.

Step 5: Show you’re interested

At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. I can guarantee it. Say yes! This is an opportunity to show that you’ve done your research on the company. So, the night before, you should brainstorm approximately five questions to ask. It’s appropriate to ask two or three. If you’re not sure what to ask, some sample questions are: “Can you tell me a bit more about the company culture?”, “What opportunities are there for upward mobility?”, “How long do people generally work here for?”, “What are the metrics you would use to determine if I’m being successful at my job?”,  and “Is this a collaborative environment?”. Of course, these are just samples. But they can help you start thinking.

It’s good to ask questions to show that you’re interested. However, this period of the interview is genuinely your time to learn more about the job. So you don’t have to come up with questions just for the sake of it. Think of what it is you actually want to know. If you were offered the job, what questions would you want answered before taking it? Ask those!

Step 6: The aftermath

After you’ve finished the interview, shake the interviewer’s hand and thank them for their time. You can ask when you should expect to hear from them.

By the end of the day, make sure that you write the interviewer a Thank You note. It can be handwritten and sent by mail or a simple email also works. Then, it’s out of your hands.  Sit back, relax, and keep your fingers crossed.


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