Job interviews can be intimidating. Despite your best planning, you still could get caught off guard by questions or leave the interview feeling like you were not able to put your best foot forward.
Everyone is ready to offer advice to job seekers about the interview process, but that advice is often limited to things that you already know or things that are obvious to all interviewees.
However, there are some simple, subtle things that you can also do to give yourself a better chance at snagging your dream job.
- -Make a list of things that you consider positive attributes. You can either memorize the list or bring it with you. You will, of course, have to answer the interviewers questions, but you can also look for ways to work your attributes into the conversation. This takes a bit of finesse, but at least making the list will get you in the right mindset and remind you of skills that you might not otherwise think to bring up during the interview.
- -Ask about the future plans of the company or, better yet, about the specific department that the interviewer works in. This will give the interviewer, most likely a management person, a chance to talk instead of simply grilling you. Really savvy interviewees can also use this to gain information about the company that they can use to prove why they are a good fit later in the interview.
- -Donâ€™t overdress. The standard suit and tie, with ironed pants and shirt, works for most interviews. Be sure to avoid loud colors and skip the perfume, cologne and aftershave. If the interviewer is at all sensitive to these scents (many people are) it will leave more of a negative impression than anything that you could say during the interview. Of course, certain fields are more casual, so jeans and a nice shirt might be sufficient. If you are interviewing for a creative position in an ad agency, for example, a suit and tie might actually be detrimental to your chances because it may show that you are unable to fit in in a casual atmosphere.
- -Donâ€™t think of it as an interview. Most interviewees are timid and shy. You will probably feel this way and no one would blame you. But one of the best ways to stand out is to be relaxed and comfortable. That doesnâ€™t mean putting your feet on the table or speaking in slang, but it means talking about yourself confidently and not conveying your timidness. Interviews are inherently nerve-wracking, so one way to avoid coming across as shy, is to simply think of the interview as more of a conversation than a â€œtest of your abilities and personality.â€ Relax. Relax. Relax.â€
- -Mention the company favorably. In many industries, loyalty to a single company is a thing of the past. People change jobs often. You can leave a positive impression by mentioning the companyâ€™s traits, services or mission in a favorable way. You can find out what these things are by looking at the companyâ€™s web site. Get a feel for what is important for the company and try to make the interviewer think that these things are also important to you.
- -Remember the interviewerâ€™s name. This is a simple thing that you can do to make the interview more personal. Pay attention to how the person introduces themselves. By default, go with a more formal: â€œMr. or Ms. So-and-So.â€ However, the same rule as the casual attire also applies here. If the interview is in a more casual setting and if the person introduces themselves to you using only their first name, it might be OK to call them only by their first name. The best time to name-drop this way is at the end of the interview (â€œthanks for your time, Mr. or Ms. _____). As a rule, it is not a good idea to opt for Mrs. instead of Ms. unless the person has mentioned that they are married or has a business card that specifically titles them Mrs.
Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for three years; she encourages job seekers to build your own website to better present your qualities to employers. She also encourages business people to take a GMAT prep course and get a MBA to achieve higher credibility in the eyes of future employers.