The job interview is the time you need to be on your game. Be prepared and follow these tips from the pros to ensure you have the best chance of winning the job. In a previous blog posting “What to do Before the Big Interview” we highlighted pre-interview preparation ideas and suggestions:
- Assess the position and the company.
- Establish questions for the interviewer
- Clothing: Dress professional
- Transportation: Arrive early and have a smooth exit planned.
- Questions: Make a list of at least three questions.
- Portfolio: Prepare even a brief example of your work.
- Yourself: Be yourself - your work self, not your weekend self.
- Email and phone communications: Have your contact info ready.
Preparation is essential to making a great impression at the interview. Please keep in mind that being prepared is the best way to enhance your chances at getting the job. Also, it is not just important to prepare physically, but you must prepare mentally as well. Here's an article from US News, 5 Interview Questions You Should Always Prepare to Answer, that can help you be ready for those go to questions every interviewer uses.
Interview 90 Second Window
The average length of an interview is around 40 minutes, but a recent survey found that out of 2,000 hiring managers, 33 percent of them claimed to know within the first 90 seconds who they would and would not be willing to hire. Getting past that 90 second mark is simple, but critical.
You have to be aware of all your interactions whether they be expressed through body language, spoken word or something as simple as a handshake. Being aware of those interactions ensures that you are giving off the best first impression possible.
Job Interview Body Language
Body language is something that takes time to master. Many people are unaware of their body language, therefore have many issues when it comes to making a decent first impression. For example, when you approach someone who is slumped over or someone who is crossing their arms, they might give off the impression that they are bored or possibly angry. In reality, that person could just be cold and they crossed their arms in an attempt to get warm.
To display positive body language make sure to sit up straight, try not to fidget, make eye contact, and occasionally nod your head when you understand or when you agree with something the interviewer is saying. If all else fails just relax, the more you panic the more it will appear evident to the interviewer, so stay positive and do your best to show some confidence. Here's a suggestion from a hiring manager:
" Sit through a mock interview yourself or a friend with a mirror or video tape it before you come to visit me. "
Probably the most difficult part of the interview is speaking. Almost everyone has issues when it comes to answering questions on the spot. When you're about to speak think about what you're saying and how you'll be perceived after you have said it. Take a breath before your speak to give yourself a brief moment to gather your thoughts.
Using curse words, slang or any other unprofessional language in an interview isn't a great idea. Proper grammar, maintaining professional speech, and a composed demeanor are essential to making a good first impression in an interview.
Be aware of the rhythm of your speech. If you are constantly talking and you don’t allow for breaks in your conversation, you will come off as being rushed or nervous and you may even offend the interviewer. Take your time and speak deliberately. When you feel you’re losing your nerve, again take a deep breath and relax. The best solution to a silence or unsure answer is to ask the question back to the person interviewing you, or ask a related question.
The Truth, the Whole Truth
In an interview it is important that you tell the truth, but you still want to present yourself in a positive light. Interviewers ask questions that may seem simple on the surface, but these questions are designed to make you think in a pressured situation. Try to avoid answering loaded questions with a negative response, one question in particular that gets many people into trouble is:
"Who was your worst boss and why?”
Although you may immediately think of a previous employer, you should never speak poorly of any organization or manager. This will give the interviewer the perception that you like to gossip and are unprofessional. If you're asked a loaded question, answer it with eloquence and professionalism. A respectable answer to the question above would be:
“Although I didn't necessarily agree with all of my previous employer’s decisions, I've found that it helps to fully understand the another person’s perspective, so I take time to listen to their position, then seek to work out a common solution. For example….”
If you answer with a general statement that shows your respect for others and your desire to find a mutual solution despite your differences, then you demonstrate your ability to deal with difficult people and can focus on more important things like getting the job done.
Job Interview Tips Summary
Overall the interview process may seem intimidating. Remember to stay confident with yourself and your abilities then you'll be capable of impressing even the toughest interviewer. Focus on displaying proper body language, professional speech, and thoughtful responses to the interviewer’s questions and you will be sure to land the job.