Turn the tables and ask your own questions. A good interview is more than just you sitting in a room rattling off prepared answers to questions. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn about the job, the company and your potential role within that world. Make sure to have a few questions prepared before you interview and find the time during the interview to ask them. Make sure they are thoughtful questions that help reinforce the idea that you’re the ideal candidate. Here’s an example: If you know that the company is big on “collaboration” as a Quality, you may want to ask a question like… “In my previous jobs I’ve really thrived in an environment where I get to work with others and have found that using my abilities in a collaborative setting has really allowed me to add a lot of value to my team. Do you envision this role having a collaborative element and if so, do you think that this ability will help me succeed in this position?”
Monkey See, Monkey Do! It’s okay to be a copycat… It’s been psychologically proven time and time again that people respond better to individuals they feel they are in “sync” with and the best way to help drive that home is to subtly mirror your interviewer’s nonverbal gestures and body language. Don’t go overboard and do everything they do, but if you keep your movements similar to theirs, it’ll build a sense of cohesion and understanding between you two. Try to mimic their pitch, tone, body language, posture and body orientation. And while you’re at it, DON’T FIDGET! Fidgeting can undermine your credibility and give an interviewer the impression that you’d rather be anywhere but in that room as well as make it appear you’re anxious or even lying. Instead, focus your gaze on whoever is interviewing you and show them that you’re fully invested and paying attention to the interview.
The best way to start an interview is to not start the interview. When you first meet whoever is interviewing you, get them to talk about anything except the interview. Instead, use those first moments to build a rapport with your interviewer. Remember, they’re potentially interviewing hundreds of people and the ones they’ll remember are the ones that stand out for the right reasons. People want to work with people they connect with, and by taking just a moment to talk about something other than your potential job you’re helping show that you’re a nice, friendly and interesting person. Your ultimate goal with an interview is to have a good conversation with your interviewer and an easy way to kick off that conversation is by starting with an easy small talk opener. Example topics can include the weather, a recent sporting event, the office, or anything else you can think of that is quick to discuss. Try to skip controversial topics and make sure that you don’t go overboard or ramble on for too long. It’s still an interview, after all!
Be nice to EVERYONE! Did you know your interview starts the minute you walk through the front door of the company you are interviewing with? How you treat everyone around you, from potential future co-workers to the receptionist at the front desk, can help determine if you get a job or not. It’s a good idea to assume that as soon as you walk into the office, your job interview has started. By being open, friendly and professional with everyone you encounter (not just your hiring manager) you’re helping to pave the way for positive feedback because as everyone knows, people talk…and if they’re going to talk about you, it’s always best to have it be about positive aspects of your visit!
In many cases, a company will be hiring for a position in order to solve a problem or remedy an issue they have been facing. By studying the job description you can often tell if this is the case for the position you are interviewing for. If this is the case, take this opportunity to prepare a one-page proposal that outlines how you would solve the problem that the company is facing… and be specific! Even if they aren’t looking for you to solve the problem in the interview, they will be impressed that you took the initiative and more importantly, that as a hire, you will bring a lot of value to their organization.
Give yourself an extra boost just before you interview by striking a pose. It might sound silly, but striking a pose can actually boost your self-confidence before you enter into a stressful situation. Just before you go in to meet with your interviewer, take a few minutes in the bathroom or stairwell and strike a “power pose.” You’ll want your feet to be shoulder width apart. Put your hands on your hips and keep your spine straight. By doing this for just two minutes before your interview, you’re conditioning your body posture to take up more space and open you up physically, two characteristics of a confident person…and confident people get jobs!
Need a quick pick-me-up before your interview? Skip the coffee and reach for an apple and some gum instead! Coffee might be great for chasing away early morning cobwebs but if you’re on your way to an interview, skip the Joe. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it’ll suck the moisture right out of your mouth…leaving you dehydrated and parched. A dry mouth can not only make talking difficult but can also lead to dreaded dragon breath…not a great way to make a first impression. Instead, reach for an apple. It’s been scientifically proven that munching on an apple is just as effective at waking you up as a cup of coffee…without the nasty side effects. Once you’re done with your snack, follow it up with a glass of water and a stick of gum. Chewing gum before an interview can help you focus and recall information you might have studied earlier. Added bonus: Minty fresh breath! Just make sure you get rid of it just before you start your interview.
Nothing can make a stressful situation more stressful than anticipation and dread… Having to wait all day for an interview is a quick and easy way to build up a major case of the butterflies. Rather than spend the whole day worrying and building yourself into a frenzied ball of anxious nerves, try to schedule your interviews for early in the day. Not only will you have more confidence, but you’ll appear fresher and more alert. It’s also been proven that interviewers tend to remember the first few people they interview in a day much more clearly than those they subsequently interview later. Remember, it’s the early bird that gets the worm…or job!
The best way to get pumped up for an interview is to get pumped up (Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) before the interview! It’s perfectly natural to have some anxiety about an interview and that can quickly translate into nervous energy. Take the time before you interview to help expend that nervous energy by knocking out a quick 10-15 minute cardio session. Not only will it help clear out some of those butterflies, but it’ll get your blood moving and help clarify your mind. Just make sure you grab a shower after you work out…and before you go to your interview! If you don’t have time to go to the gym but still need to burn some energy, a brisk walk around the block can work wonders as well!
This interview tip is a bit controversial. Some people think that bringing in a “crib sheet” shows that you are not prepared for your interview. The way we see it though, is that it’s okay to bring a cheat sheet with you to your interview, and even better to share it! Everyone knows it’s a good idea to bring extra copies of your resume and business cards with you when you interview, but it’s also a great idea to bring a job history cheat sheet with you. What’s a job history cheat sheet? Easy! Before you go to your interview, prepare a write-up briefly detailing two accomplishments for each of your past few jobs. Try to include one individual accomplishment and one team accomplishment. It’s a fast and easy way to present a potential employer with a summary of your job highlights and successes that wouldn’t otherwise be on your resume and might not get covered in the interview.