A job interview is not a test of your knowledge, but your ability to use it at the right time” -unknown
Your worst nightmare comes true! As you walk into the interview, your stomach does backflips while your heart races 100 beats per minute. Then your mind goes blank, and sweat is dripping down your forehead. You’re trying to show you’re not nervous, but the hiring manager sees it. Making you question your ability to impress the supervisor enough to ace the interview.
Here’s a scary fact to make things worse. Did you know that 33% of hiring managers know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they’ll hire you?
If you want to land your next design job or join the workforce, you need to brush up on your interviewing abilities. In this post, you will discover five tips to prepare yourself for the interview.
Interviewing Tip 1: Be Confident
Congratulations! You, your resume, and portfolio have made it through the selection process. Now it’s time to seal the deal with your interview. The interview is all about fit. The interviewer wants confirmation that you will be a good fit.
Start building up your confidence days before the interview. To help you build up your confidence, practice in the mirror on what you’re going to say. This is also a good time to work on your non-verbal communication skills like body language and facial expressions.
Interviewing Tip 2: Be Prepared
One of the biggest mistakes interviewees often make is not doing their research on the company. You can do a quick Google search to find the basics. Read about the work they do and how you can add value to their company. This post goes into depth on how to do research on a company before an interview.
Next Steps to take to prepare you for the interview:
- Take a drive to the company. Doing this will help you know how long it will take you to get there and find a suitable parking space. Knowing this will help you be on time – better yet, get there 15 minutes early.
- Have answers to the most common interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself: Don’t discuss your employment history. This is a time to sell yourself! When interviewers ask this question, they want to see how your experience fits the role of the job.
- Why do you want to work with this company: Now don’t say because you need a job! This is another reason to do some research on the company. Discuss what you like most about the company and how you can add value to it.
- What are your greatest strengths: Don’t go listing every glorious thing about yourself. Answering this question is more about quality than quantity. Pick 3 of your strengths and discuss how they can help the company.
- What do you consider to be your weaknesses: Don’t be afraid to share your weaknesses. Keep in mind this is a trick question. The trick is to switch your weakness into a strength. Discuss how you can overcome this weakness.
- Example: One of my weaknesses is I’m a little shy. Through attending college, I’ve overcome my shyness by becoming more willing to speak up.
- Now, onto what you should wear to your interview. It’s best to have the right outfit ready days before the interview. This way when the interview gets here, you’re not struggling to find the right outfit. One less thing to make you late.
- Sixty-five percent of hiring managers say that clothing can be a deciding factor between two almost near-identical candidates. The Balance Career, discuss gender neutral tips on dressing for an interview.
- You should pack the items you plan to bring with you to the interview and have it prepared. Be sure to bring extra copies of your resume, a list of references, and questions you would like to ask.
Companies are holding online interviews more because of concerns over COVID-19, so it’s essential to discuss it. Here are some suggestions that will help you have a successful online interview:
- There are different ways in which employers can conduct online interviews. They can ask you to chat with someone live during a video, or you can record yourself speaking and send it to them. Ask what to expect during the interview with the hiring manager.
- A few days before the interview, check your computer for audio and video quality.
- Look for a spot near the window to conduct the interview. You want to make sure the lighting is not too dark and does not have a glare on the computer screen. The natural lighting will provide the best lighting environment for the interview.
- Hiring managers always create the first impression on appearance, including online interviews. So follow the advice for dressing during an in-person one.
- Watch out for nonverbal communication! This means no slouching and sitting up tall. Look at the webcam to show you are listening. Do not forget to wait for your turn to speak!
- Have a backup plan if technology fails. Talk to the hiring manager about what to do if something goes wrong during the interview.
- Resources: Online interview tips, Video interview guide
Tip: Also, if you haven’t already, it may be a good idea to clean up your social media profiles. You don’t want judgment from something you posted 5 months ago.
Interviewing Tip 3: Practice Your Lines
Remember how I said you should practice in front of your mirror? This is the perfect place for you to practice what you’re going to say in the interview.
Again have questions you plan on asking the interviewer. This will keep you from stumbling on trying to think of questions to ask. Or worse, not having questions to ask at all.
Here are some questions you can ask:
- What does a typical day look like?
- What are the skills and experience you’re looking for in the ideal candidate?
- What training opportunities do you have for employees?
- How long have you been with the company?
- Why did you come to this company?
- What’s your favorite part about working with this company?
- Where do you see this company in the next few years?
When the day gets here, you need to make connections from the beginning. Smile and speak to whoever walks by. Be sure to have a firm handshake and give a brief background of yourself to people you talk to. Be ready to ask and answer questions someone may have.
Interviewing Tip 4: Be Observant
Being observant will give you an idea of how things go daily at the company. Pay attention to how long the drive is and what traffic is like. If you didn’t do this before the interview then this will help you know what time is best for you to leave for work.
It’s also important to pay attention to the employees and environment. Look at how they dress and watch how they behave. Are they dressing 100% professional or is it business casual? Where do they eat lunch at? How is parking… is it easy to find a parking space… do employees have a designated parking space? These are good questions to have in mind while waiting for the interview.
Tip: You should observe the person interviewing. Pay attention to what kind of day they’re having.
Interviewing Tip 5: Understand Interview Etiquette
Interview etiquette is basically the manners your grandmother taught you in childhood. Be polite, don’t talk over the interviewer, and don’t slouch over. Remember, everything counts within the interview, including nonverbal communication. Know that 90% of all communication is non-verbal.
Sixty-seven percent of bosses say that failure to make eye contact is a common nonverbal mistake. If looking at someone in the eyes makes you nervous then look at their nose or forehead.
Tip: Don’t talk about money during the first interview!
Tying It All Together
Another huge mistake people make during an interview is not letting them know that you want the job. Yes, you can tell the interviewer how much you want the job and how you know for a fact you’re the perfect fit for it. The goal is to get to the second interview and to help you land the job!