By: Ally Chamberlin (@allychmb)
Whether you’re attempting to land that internship or that big job, interviews can be intimidating. How do I stand out from the crowd? How do I ensure I meet their expectations? The worries are never-ending! With these tips, preparing for an interview should come naturally and your confidence will shine through.
There are so many key points to showing up prepared! In order to ace that first interview, being and feeling 100% prepared should be your top priority.
First, be sure that you know the company! What are they working on right now and what are their goals? What kind of employees thrive in this work environment? This shows that you did your homework and have a genuine interest in the company.
Next, not only study the company but also the job description. This can help tailor the discussion throughout the interview. Knowing the traits that are necessary for this position can help you to navigate the interview and provide examples that show the traits they are looking for.
Come prepared! Have copies of your resume and put them into a neat folder to hand to your interviewer and any colleagues sitting in. Be sure that you know your resume like the back of your hand! Know it well and know how to sell yourself. Speak intelligently of all of your past experiences and convince the interviewer that you can complete the tasks of this job efficiently. Display your skills with concrete examples!
Bring a notepad to the interview inside of an organized folder and take any key points. Ask questions when they arise! Not only are they interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them to be sure that it is a perfect fit!
Dress to Impress
First impressions matter and are important, therefore you should be sure to dress the part! Generally, you want to dress business professional for an interview. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to overdress.
For men, this most likely means wearing a suit specifically navy, black, or dark grey. In some instances, a dress shirt with dress pants and dress shoes is also appropriate. If a tie is worn, be sure that it is simple and not too distracting. Hair should be polished neatly and any facial hair should be groomed appropriately.
For women, a conservative outfit whether this is a blouse with dress pants or a dress/skirt. Try to stick with neutral shades of clothing and avoid any bright or flashy colors. This can also be applicable to make-up and nail polish. Be sure to stick with a subtle and professional look for an interview.
Strong eye contact shows confidence and high self-esteem. Direct eye contact throughout the interview helps build connections and show confidence.
Be sure to maintain good posture throughout the interview. When you first arrive, a firm handshake and eye contact can leave a great impression. During the interview, sitting up straight portrays attentive listening skills and positive energy.
Maintain a smile! This shows that you are a happy and pleasant person to work with. Be serious when need be, but don’t be afraid to smile and portray excitement.
After the interview, be sure to thank those who spent the time to interview you. This shows that you have a genuine interest and are grateful for the time they spent with you talking about the position and company. In this follow-up, be brief and share your interest in the position and company. Include anything that stood out to you or areas where you think you could be a great help. Thank the interviewer for their time and include anything else you would like them to know. Be sure to send this as soon as you can, as the earlier it is received the better!
Most importantly – Be yourself!!
Being yourself is an important final tip! If you aren’t a good fit for the job, then this position may not be for you. Don’t be who you think they need, but instead be yourself! If you aren’t being your true self the interviewer will sense this.
With these simple steps, interviewing will be a success. It is important that you are confident and leave a lasting first impression. Show the employers that you are worthy of the position and maintain a positive attitude. Be sure to be yourself and the rest will follow.
Ally Chamberlain is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying Communications with a minor in Marketing. For the past two years, she has been an active member of PRSSA and an account associate for GrandPR. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with friends and family and visiting new places. She has a passion for working with children and is hoping to incorporate that into her career someday.