After sending multiple applications, you finally get a callback saying that you look like a promising candidate for the job. You set a date and a time for the interview, but as the day and hour gets closer, you quickly realize that you’re feeling overwhelmed. After all, this is a major opportunity for you. This might be a company that you see yourself having a career with, the benefits might be great, and so is the salary. With that, you know there’s stiff competition for the job, and you want to make a great impression. We’ve gathered some proven advice for interview success that will help you get the position. Check out our five interview tips below.
First off, you need to choose what to wear to your interview. If you’re trying to work for a retail clothing store, I would recommend something that fits the current trends as a sense of style is valued by retail employers. You don’t need to look like you just stepped off the catwalk or out of a Vogue photo shoot, but do demonstrate your personal sense of style. If you’re trying to work for a business firm, then a well-tailored suit and a dress shirt free of wrinkles are more appropriate. If you’re interviewing at an independently owned local business, the dress expectations run along the lines of business casual. The goal of focusing on your appearance is to communicate a respect for the company and a desire for the position.
Research the company.
When you prepare for an interview, it’s important to research the company. Appearances are important, but what will leave your interviewer with a great impression is your knowledge and ability to communicate what you know. It’s imperative that you know things about the company. Visit their website, and read their about us page. Be familiar with their values, and try to incorporate them into your answers. For example, if the company values innovation, have stories prepared about ways you’ve demonstrated your own innovativeness and ingenuity at past jobs. Be up to date on their latest product launches or publications, and mention them. This will show that you had an interest in the company outside of a paycheck.
Practice answers to common interview questions.
Researching popular questions asked during interviews is imperative for making sure that you’ll be as prepared as possible. You already know that they’re going to ask you why you want to work there and why should they hire you, so you might as well have an answer beforehand. These are five popular interview questions you’re likely to be asked, and what hirers are looking for in the answers:
- Can you tell me about yourself?
When asked this question, you don’t need to give your entire life story. Select details that are relevant to the job your applying for. Leave out stories about your childhood, and focus on recent work experience and academic achievements related to the job opportunity. Your potential employer is giving you an opportunity to tell them why you, specifically, are a good choice for the job over other candidates. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself a little bit.
- Why do you want to work here?
Focus on the company, and let the interviewer know what you like about the company. They want to know that you genuinely feel motivated about their business. They don’t want to know about your financial needs or desire to get employee discounts. This question is more about them and less about you.
- What’s your greatest strength/weakness?
Be genuine about your strengths, and relate them to the company goals. They want to know how your skills can help them meet their goals. For example, if you’re a great communicator, explain how that can help with growing their customer base. If asked about weaknesses, answer creatively. Don’t state a weakness and leave it at that. Tell them how you’ve been working on improving that area of your performance.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
When answering this question, include how you see yourself positively impacting the company over time. They want to know how you can help with their bottom line. They might also be trying to get a feel for how long you’ll work for them. If you indicate that you want to move to another state or are looking for temporary work, they may not hire you.
- Do you have any questions for us?
You should always have one or two questions prepared to ask the hirer at the end of the interview. The interviewer wants to see that you are curious about the company. This is your chance to get to know more about the company or to mention something else about yourself that you didn’t get a chance to talk about during the other questions.
Make eye contact.
While in the interview, always maintain eye contact. If you constantly shift your gaze or can’t give proper eye contact, then it looks as if you are nervous or have something to hide. If making eye contact is difficult for you, try looking at the space between their eyebrows, their mouth, or just focusing on one eye. Just make sure that you look present and that you aren’t staring off into space.
At the end of the day, confidence is key. Being selected for an interview is an accomplishment on its own. Remember that they called you because you have something that interests them. They are just as eager to hire someone as you are to be hired. If you do the best you can, and if it’s meant to be, the job is yours! If it doesn’t work out, press on, and something better will come along.