It’s your big interview day. You daydream of winning over the hiring manager with your dashing personality and dynamic skills. When they wonder who they should hire, you want them to remember you!
Want to ace that interview by making a great first impression? Here are six strategies to help you.
- Be Prepared
Don’t be the one who stumbles in the door, shuffling papers and struggling to remember your experiences. Instead of vaguely thinking about how you’ll answer questions, write down your answers. Rehearse them extensively — practice makes perfect, of course. Have stories of your past experiences ready so you can call them up at a moment’s notice.
It’s also important to learn as much as you can about your employer before the interview. Browse their website’s “about” page (and the rest of it — news, services, locations, etc.), check out the clients they work with, and look at the LinkedIn pages of the people who will be interviewing you.
- Be Enthusiastic!
The fact you got called in for an interview is pretty exciting, so show it! Prove to the company that you’re pumped to learn about the work and culture of the job. A lack of enthusiasm shows you’re not engaged and interested. Here are some quick tips to remember:
- Smile, especially when you’re talking about the position!
- Pay attention when the employer is describing the position
- Ask about what the company is doing in the future
- Follow up (we’ll get to this later)
- Show Off Your Personality
A job interview is not the place to show off your Mr. Roboto impression. Don’t hide who you really are! Being yourself proves how unique you are to the employer. Plus, personality always leaves a lasting impression.
A big part of this is branding yourself. What’s your personal brand? In order to figure this out, think about who you are, what you represent, and what exactly makes you tick.
- Create Dialogue
An interview doesn’t have to be an employer talking at you for an hour. Don’t hold your questions till the end — in fact, interjecting questions during the interview creates a two-way conversation. And that’s much more comfortable, isn’t it?
Engage the interviewer by asking follow-up questions after answering a question. For instance, if you’re asked the question:
Can you tell me a time you worked with a team to complete a project successfully?
First, answer the question. Then, you can ask a logical follow-up, like:
What would working on a team be like at this organization?
This shows off your communication skills and sets you apart from the crowd.
- Leave Something Behind
Even if the employer doesn’t ask for them, it’s a smart idea to leave something physical for them to look over. It can be something as simple as an updated resume or something truly impressive, like work samples.
When an interviewer goes back to review its candidates, they’ll be quick to remember the samples you left behind. These can only improve your chances of being hired — it shows you have a high level of experience in various settings.
- Follow Up
No thank you note after the interview? No job for you! Seriously — the follow-up email is perhaps the most critical part of the interview process. Why?
First of all, it’s respectful to thank the interviewer — they did take time out of their busy day to speak with you. Sending a follow-up is also a great display of enthusiasm. It shows you’re willing to connect one last time with your interviewer, which gives you an edge over your competition.
Sometimes, you’ll be “the fourth candidate today,” which means you’d better have some stellar stuff to impress the interviewer. Even if you’re the first candidate, though, being memorable is critical to leaving a positive impression after all the others have been interviewed. Put these tips into practice, and you’ll be hired before you know it!