Finding a job can be stressful. There are tons of places where you can search for jobs, so combing through the listings can be overwhelming. Then, you need to have a great resume and cover letter to highlight yourself enough to get a call, plus… the job interview. For many people, this is the most nerve-wracking and frustrating part.
Not too many people enjoy job interviews, but employers need them to differentiate between candidates. If two or more people share many of the same qualifications for a job, the interview is often the game changer. Employers are looking for people who not only can do the job but will also be a good fit with the rest of the staff.
The interview is your first face-to-face impression with the employer. In most cases, it’s the only shot you have to dazzle them with your wit and charm. Just make sure you stand out for all of the right reasons using proper interview etiquette. Here are three tips you can use to show you’re right for the job:
- Be Prepared
Just as the potential employer is searching for information about you online, you should be searching for information about the company. Find out where they stand within their industry and the market as a whole. Go to their website to read about their mission statement and values. Check to see if they have made any recent headlines and why.
Use this information to prepare answers to possible questions about what would make you a good fit for the job, what assets you can bring to the company, and other common interview questions. Also use it to develop questions of your own, especially if you came across something about the business that might concern you. Your answers and questions will reflect the extra effort you invested in preparing for the interview, which employers will notice.
Don’t forget to practice as you put this information together. It’s one thing to have it all down on paper, but it’s another thing to say it aloud. Stand in front of a mirror and practice some of your potential answers, as well as a brief introduction and your experience. This will help you build your confidence going into the interview.
- Dress To Impress
Now that you’ve spent some time mentally preparing for your interview, it’s time to physically get ready, which means dressing the part. Even if the company is known for a more casual dress code, it’s important to put on your best business duds as a sign of respect for the job and the company.
Make sure your clothes are clean, ironed and fit properly. That means buttons and zippers close with ease and don’t look ready to pop. Be sure to try on your interview outfit a few days before the interview in case any emergency trips to the store are needed. And ladies, watch those necklines and hemlines.
Hair and make-up should be done, too. When it comes to perfume and cologne, a little goes a long way. Remember, some scents are strong and might turn off potential employers, as it can be hard to focus on what you’re saying if they are holding their breath. Brush your teeth and if necessary, take a breath mint.
Overall, it’s best to look professional, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let some of your personality shine through. In fact, that could be the one thing that makes you stand out from the other candidates. Use accessories, such as scarves and jewelry, or splurge on that special manicure.
- Don’t Forget Your Manners
After all of this, it’s time for the actual interview. Don’t forget your interpersonal skills. Employers are placing heavy focus on those skills, as they find that many people lack these skills in today’s world of mass technology. Some employers will take someone with better interpersonal skills and fewer qualifications than a qualified candidate with limited interpersonal skills.
These skills include making eye contact when speaking with others, smiling, and working well in a team, so be able to give examples of a time when you were a great team player. Don’t forget to use a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview.
It should go without saying, but turn off your phone before you enter the building. Put it in your bag and don’t look at it again until after you’ve left. Be polite to everyone you encounter, as they will report back any nasty behavior to those in charge of hiring. Make sure to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your interview time, and it’s never okay to be late.
Take down the names of the people who interviewed you so you can send them a Thank You card and send it via the U.S. post office. Many people send notes electronically, if at all, but taking the time to send a hand-written message will make you stand out. Consider using a personalized envelope, like these from Company Folders for another premium touch. Reference something from the interview or use this time as a chance to briefly explain again why you would be perfect for the job.
A lot goes into finding a new job. At times, it might seem like it’s as much work finding a job as it is to actually have one. Don’t get discouraged. All you can do is to make sure you are as prepared as you can be and put your best foot forward. If you get the job, congrats! If not, use the experience as something to learn from and keep in mind next time around. Hopefully, these tips will help give you something to celebrate.