Interviewing is one of the most intimidating aspects of seeking a new job. After all, it truly is a make or break proposition.
Own the interview and you’ll all but force the hiring hand of the company you’re seeking employment with. On the other hand, botch the interview – even in just one key area – and your chances of being offered the position will become bleak.
It doesn’t take much to falter when being interviewed, so you need to make sure you’re prepared.
In fact, many companies today make it a point to do everything they can to trip up potential candidates in an effort to see how they respond to pressure and adversity.
It’s impossible to anticipate and prepare for every situation you might face while interviewing, but the following 5 interviewing tips will go a long way towards making you shine, and increase your chances of receiving an offer.
Interviewing Tip #1: Know the Hiring Company
For those who tend to over-prepare, this one can seem obvious. You’d be surprised, though, how many potential candidates show up to an interview knowing little more about the company they’re seeking to be hired by beyond its name and location.
One of the first line of questions many interviewers will ask center around what you know about their company and why you’re interested in joining their team.
Being unable to articulate thoughtful responses to these questions will make a negative first impression that can be difficult to recover from, especially if the other candidates do their homework and come prepared.
Interviewing Tip #2: Maintain Solid Eye Contact
Different people react very differently to stressful and nerve racking situations. It’s quite common that under stress, when their nerves are getting the better of them, interviewees can begin to let their eyes wander.
Nothing will make you come off as being less-than-genuine more than making intermittent eye contact with your interviewer. Solid eye contact psychologically exudes confidence to the one you’re speaking to.
So make it a point to keep your eyes locked and not allow them to wander. If you think this may be a problem for you, then the next tip will be valuable for you.
Interviewing Tip #3: Get In Some Interviewing Practice With Mock Interviews
We’ve all heard the old adage that aptly reminds us that practice makes perfect. This is true in developing just about any skill we desire to refine, including our interviewing skills.
Before your interview, getting some practice in by having a friend or family member conduct a mock interview on you is an excellent way of finding out what your weak points are before the big day, so you can spend some effort on strengthening them.
Be sure that you pick an interviewer who you trust to be completely honest with you. You don’t want one of those ultra-supportive friends who are so supportive that they won’t allow themselves to point out your flaws.
The entire point of the mock interview process is to identify what you need to work on when it won’t cost you a job offer.
Interviewing Tip #4: Be Positive and Smile As Often As Possible
Managers want employees who are pleasant to work with. Attitudes are contagious and it only takes one “negative Nancy” to bring down the morale and productivity of an entire team.
There are times in an interview when having a boisterous smile on your face may not be appropriate. If the conversation turns serious, it’s okay to temporarily lose the smile, but not your positive attitude.
Stay positive, smile as often as it makes sense to do so, and make your interviewer feel like your attitude alone would be a benefit to his or her team.
Interviewing Tip #5: Unleash the Power of the Thank You Note
This tip is likely the most powerful in terms of the impact it can have relative to the amount of effort that it requires. The last thing you want is for those who interviewed you to forget about you the moment you shake hands and walk away from the interview.
Most of the time a hiring decision isn’t made for several days or even weeks after the interviewing process is completed. Sending a thank you note to your interviewers will leave them with one final positive impression of you that can have a lasting impact.
Hand-written thank you notes are, far and away, your best option here. An email is better than nothing, but should only be used as a last resort. The personal touch of a hand-written note gives it a resonance that emails simply can’t provide.
Oftentimes, a hiring manager will place your thank you note on their desk where they will see it many times over before deciding on who they should hire for their open position.
There are candidates who won’t do this and this will catapult you ahead of them during the home stretch of the hiring decision process (when it matters most).
If you need help getting a job, all the job seeking advice in the world isn’t going to matter if your interviewing technique isn’t solid. By employing these 5 essential interviewing tips you’ll set yourself apart from the majority of other candidates who don’t take the extra time to mentally prepare themselves for flawless interviewing execution.