You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.
No matter what stage of your career—whether you’re a new graduate, a middle manager or an executive level professional—at some point, you will need to go through the job interview process. Most of us know how rather daunting each stage of interviewing can be, that’s why it’s important to stay up to date with the proper protocols in today’s corporate world.
In today’s competitive world, you have to set yourself apart from other professionals that may have similar skills and experiences as you. That’s why acing an interview takes more than just being the most experienced in your field. It takes good communication, proper preparation of questions and answers, and appropriate follow up—among many other things.
Further, getting the call to go in for an interview is no easy task. So, it’s important to treat each interview uniquely and professionally with careful preparation.
Rather than walk into a job interview unprepared and “wing it,” job seekers need to put their best foot forward and show hiring managers why they deserve the position.
I know there are plenty of articles out there full of job interview tips, and it can get overwhelming to know exactly what the latest and greatest advice on the matter is. In fact, I wrote about this topic last summer, and it seems like a good time to review these tips again. Read below for 7 Ways to Ace Your Next Job Interview.
1. Clean up your social media.
Before walking into a job interview, job seekers should be aware of their social media presence. It’s possible, and very likely, that hiring managers are browsing their prospective job candidates on social media in order to find out more about them. No one wants to miss out on their dream job because of a photo on Facebook or an inappropriate tweet, so make sure to clean up what’s already on your social media accounts and consider making your accounts private.
2. Look good, feel good.
It’s very important to make a good impression in a job interview and that often begins with your appearance. While appearance isn’t everything, it certainly matters in a professional setting, specifically within a job interview. Job seekers should pick an appropriate, professional outfit that they feel confident in. Even though many companies are adopting more casual dress codes, a job interview is not the place to wear your favorite weekend outfit. By dressing professionally, you convey a number of things to a hiring manager—namely, that you are a distinguished professional.
3. Be on time.
This is a big one for hiring managers and recruiters—don’t be late. Being late comes across as rude to hiring managers and does not give a good first impression. Of course, unforeseen circumstances can pop up, but it’s essential for any serious job seeker to plan ahead as best as they can in order to arrive on time to an interview. Similarly, do not be too early either. This can also give hiring managers a negative impression. Try to arrive at an interview about 15 minutes before it begins. Be sure to also factor in the time it takes to get through security if you are in a building with a security desk.
4. Take notes and ask questions.
This is an easy step that shows your interest in a position and company. During the interview, job seekers should take notes and have questions for the hiring manager or recruiter. Try jotting down 3-5 questions before walking into the interview—be it on the position, the team the culture, or any awards or news about the company. It’s very likely that some of your questions will be answered throughout the interview, which is why I recommend having 5 questions ready, and jotting down any further questions that you may think of during the interview. Imagine finishing an interview and not having any further questions—it could come across as you not having an interest in the position. Show your excitement for the role through questions. Trust me, hiring managers will notice.
5. Let your personality show.
Interviews can be stressful at times, but job seekers should let their genuine personality shine through. The benefits of expressing yourself truthfully in a job interview are tremendous. It allows hiring managers to learn more about you, determine if you’re a good culture fit with the rest of the team and so much more. While you don’t want to go overboard, try to find a nice balance of being professional and showing your personality.
6. Know your resume inside and out.
Too often, job seekers send out their resume and don’t look at it again until they’re in an interview. Be prepared to elaborate on your resume. For example, a Payroll Specialist might say in their resume that they improved a payroll process. While that’s important to state in a resume, the job interview is the time and place to elaborate on how he or she improved it. Use the job interview to tell a story and show how you completed a project. Job seekers should be able and ready to elaborate on any and every point on his/her resume.
7. Say thank you.
This is important but too often overlooked. I’ve written a on this topic before because I believe in this practice. Saying thank you is great (and necessary!) but sending a thank you note takes it to the next level. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way. Not only will hiring managers take note of your appreciation, they’ll also notice your professionalism—thank you notes really do help job seekers in the end!
These are only a few of the many tips for job seekers to use during the interview process. Do you have other suggestions for prospective job seekers? Comment below and let us know.