Your resume rocked, and now you’ve got an interview! The job’s yours to lose, so don’t let it slip through your fingers. Follow these tips to turn work opportunities into offers.
1. GET THE TIMING RIGHT.
You might not have much say over your interview time. But if you do, try to schedule it for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., which has been declared the optimal time for presentations. Why? Because it’s not Monday or Friday, first thing in the morning, right before or during lunch, or at the end of a long day. Ideally, you’ll be among the early interview candidates, who tend to get viewed most favorably.
2. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
If you’ve ever gone on a job interview (or 12), you already know most of what you’ll be asked. Practice that resume walk-through, catering it specifically to the job you’re hoping to get. How has everything you’ve done in your career made you the perfect candidate for this role right now? What do you have to offer that makes you unique?
3. COME PREPARED.
Pack several copies of your resume, a portfolio if applicable, a notepad and pen, and a list of questions you’d like to ask. One thing you shouldn’t bring: your own beverage. While a discreet bottle of water may be fine, hiring managers feel that bringing your own coffee into the interview feels too casual.
4. STRIKE A POSE.
Feeling nervous? Strike a power pose to boost your confidence while also de-stressing. Find a quiet place to raise your arms and spread your feet into an X-shaped position. If you live in a big city, you can probably pull this off in public without drawing too much attention to yourself.
5. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE.
Go ahead, use your phone to find your interview site, review talking points, or research your prospective employer one last time. But whatever you do, turn it off once you’re inside the building. Being distracted by texts, emails, or calls even before you get a job isn’t a good look.
6. REMEMBER: AN INTERVIEW IS A CONVERSATION.
Sometimes you’re talking; sometimes you’re listening. Take a few seconds to really think about a question before answering it, and feel free to ask your own questions as they pop up (but be careful not to interrupt!).
7. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BODY LANGUAGE.
Sit all the way back in your chair at the start and lean in as the conversation gets interesting. Nod your head while listening; gesture instead of hiding your hands; and keep both feet planted on the ground. If you have a phone interview, project confidence by standing during the call.
8. PREPARE SMART QUESTIONS.
At the end of the interview, you’ll be asked if you have any more questions. Have them— and make sure they’re specific to the role. Ask your interviewer what he or she enjoys most about the company, how your performance will be measured, or what the company or department goals are in the next six months. Stay away from questions about benefits or salary until you get an offer and never, ever ask, “How’d I do?”
9. SAY THANK YOU.
Following up with a thank you note or email is the cherry on top of a great interview. Reach out on the same day to thank him or her for meeting with you, reassert your interest, and say that you look forward to speaking soon.