Job interviews can be an intimidating process for anyone. That’s why it’s important to prepare beforehand and set yourself up for as much success as you can. It takes time to get over the nerves of this process, and that’s why I’ve put together this list of tips to nail your job interview.
1. Do your research ahead of time.
Research the company you’re applying for, and if you can, the position you are applying for. Regardless of how obvious it seems, many people will walk into a job interview not knowing much beyond the company name. If you are applying to a job in social media, look at the company’s social channels ahead of time. If it’s at an agency, research their talent. Understand what it is that you’re getting yourself into, and show those you are meeting that you truly do care about the company. That understanding can make a world of difference.
2. Expect the unexpected.
We can all look up job interview questions online and prepare our strengths and weaknesses to our heart’s content. That being said, when in a real life conversation with someone, they’re not always going to stick to the book. Be prepared to answer honestly and if you don’t know something, don’t pretend you do. Honesty is always the best policy. There have been interview questions that I have knowingly bombed because I was afraid to say I didn’t know. The times I did admit that I wasn’t too sure, however, the honesty was always well-received.
3. Dress for the job you want.
One quote that has always stuck with me is “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. Of course, some days when I work from home I’m definitely dressing for the nap I want, but that’s beside the point. When preparing for an interview and doing your research, get to know the “vibe” of the company and dress accordingly for your interview. Your look should almost always be office appropriate, but the degree of ‘fanciness’ can vary dependent on the company.
4. Print out your resumé, bring your portfolio, prepare your materials.
Regardless of the fact that the interviewer has likely printed out your resumé, bring a copy of yours along. Show the interviewer that you’ve made the effort that day. If you’re a little more eco-friendly, bring your resumé or portfolio on an iPad–– just do something to show them that you were prepared in case they weren’t.
5. Don’t be late, be prepared to wait.
Being late for a job interview, regardless of reason, says to the interviewer “my time is more valuable than yours”. Be prepared to show up early (but not wildly early–– 5 to 10 minutes) and be prepared to wait. This is taking place in the middle of their work day (and sometimes in the middle of yours), and they might need an extra few minutes before they can push pause on their day. Use that waiting time before the interview to cool down, get comfortable and, if you can, assess the way others are acting in that environment. Is everyone relaxed and laughing, or is it a serious and quiet environment?
6. Be yourself.
This is the most important part of job interviewing: be yourself. You don’t want to work with someone who doesn’t want to work with you. Let your personality shine through. That doesn’t mean kick back and put your feet on the table, but it does mean show them who you really are and what you’re made of. At the end of the day, you’re both humans sitting across the table from each other just trying to do wonderful things and get through the day. Remember that fact if you’re feeling intimidated. Yes, they are judging you, but you’re judging them too to see if this position is the right fit for you.