Interviews can be nerve wrecking, but they don’t have to be! Certain things always seem to come up in an interview, no matter what. Anything from small talk to your appearance can make or break a first impression, so we put together a list of things to help you get through. You don’t want to lose your dream job because you weren’t prepared, so give this list a look next time you go out on an interview.
The greeting, typically a handshake (pre-covid), or now a warm smile, slight wave and a bit of a nod will do. Make sure you walk in positive, upbeat and ready to go. Perhaps practice your greeting with someone.
Appearance check – First impressions stick, make sure yours is seen as professional. Be dressed for the job you want, which is usually a step above what you think is appropriate for job you are interviewing for. Make sure you are well groomed, no dirt under the nails or chipped polish, stand up straight and smile!
Small talk – This may seem kind of silly and unimportant, but it isn’t. A big part of an interview is getting to know you, for who you are. Practice topics of small talk with a family member or friend. You want to show your personality while also keeping it on topics that are appropriate. Much of the time your prospective employer will ask you your hobbies, about your family, and really any interest outside of the job you love. Keep it positive.
“What are you looking for?” – Whether this is exactly how they ask you this or not, the employer is always trying to feel out what you really want to do in your career, day in and day out. From salary (separate talking point below) to culture and everything in between. It is always good to be upfront about what you desire, while staying humble. You always want to appear grateful for the opportunity to interview, but also you don’t want to go into next step of the process for a job that will not satisfy you.
“Why do you want to switch jobs?” – This may seem simple, but always think about this answer! It is a good one to practice. You don’t ever want to say something negative about your current company, that could sound off putting or rude. Even if what you are saying is true, it may appear that you are a negative person. So, always try to frame your answer in a positive light. If you are unhappy with your coworkers at your current position, perhaps say, “I am looking for more a of team-oriented atmosphere, a better culture in the workplace”. That way you get your point across but don’t sound as if you are whining.
“What can you bring to the table?” – The only person who knows how great you are at something is YOU. Practicing this answer before an interview, makes sure you state all your best attributes. If you miss one, you might miss the one that gets you the job. Interviews are kind of like a competition, you need to show your all the cards in your hand, not just a few! Don’t be cocky, but be confident.
Ask questions, the interviewer want you to be interested – Don’t be afraid to ask about the job you are applying for or the company you are trying to become a part of. Questions make you appear interested! And who wants to hire someone that doesn’t seem to show any initiative?! Make sure you visit the company website and read about your prospective employer first. That way you can focus on questions that revolve about the opportunity itself.
Compensation conversation – It is always a good idea to talk to your recruiter about this before going into the interview set up by a firm. Generally, that conversation happens between the recruiter and the client not directly with the candidate and the client. Don’t over ask, but be willing to share the range you are comfortable with. You do not have to share what you currently make or made. Make sure the range is a fit for you, bargaining after an offer can cause a good opportunity to go sour.
Final thoughts – As the interview winds down, the interviewer may ask if you have any questions? This is the perfect time to ask any of your remaining questions. A great way to make sure that the interview knows all they need to know about you, consider asking, “What else do you need to know about me and my skills, in relationship to this job?” Additionally, if you have any concerns about the opportunity, now is your time to ask them. Remember, you are trying to sell yourself to them, make sure they have all the information they need to know about you, so they move forward with you.
The goodbye handshake and thank you – Always say, Thank you! A thank you goes a long way especially if another candidate didn’t say it. Traditionally you would shake hands, however at the point of this publication, a happy goodbye and a small wave or head nod, is perfectly ok.
To sum this up, always practice! Practice with yourself in the mirror, with a friend or with the recruiter who helped you get the interview. Practice makes perfect. Also, ask questions of your recruiter beforehand if you are nervous! Confidence is key so hold your head high, smile and be you! Interviews don’t have to be a scary thing, the interviewer just wants to get to know you for you, so let them. Keep this list in mind, practice and you’ll be on your way to a new job in no time!