Job hunting is stressful. Reviewing job postings, updating your resume, and drafting cover letters can be so overwhelming. But if that isn’t stressful enough – next is the interview! “What if I say something stupid?” “How can I possibly explain everything I have to offer in a brief thirty minute interview?” I remember asking myself these very questions and being extremely anxious before the interview.
Here are a few helpful tips to help de-stress the interview process:
- Relax and be yourself. Your body language is important – so try not to fidget. Try to relax and let your personality come through.
- Dress Appropriately. Be presentable. You do not want to be remembered as the girl who wore a tie-dye shirt to the interview. A suit usually isn’t necessary, but for an office setting you should dress professionally.
- Easy on the perfume. A spritz or two of your favorite scent is fine. You don’t want to go in smelly (from all of the nervous sweating!) but you also don’t want the interviewers choking on perfume and anxious for the interview to end so they can leave the room and breathe in the “fresh” circulated office air.
- Be a few minutes early. Ten to fifteen minutes is ideal – any longer than that and you risk a lengthy wait in the reception area making small talk with (or being ignored by) the receptionist. Avoid the awkwardness and aim to be a few minutes early.
- Do your research beforehand. Check out the company website. If you know who will be interviewing you, check out their bio pages on the website. You never know – an opportunity may arise during the interview where you can share something you read, and it will show that you are serious about the position and did your homework.
- Firm handshake. Shake hands with each interviewer and introduce yourself. (If you are bad with names – repeat their name back to them when you are shaking their hand – it helps!)
- Be prepared. Have extra copies of your resume and list of references. The interviewers will likely have this information with them, but in case they do not, be sure to have extra copies handy.
- Do not lie. This should be obvious, but I will say it anyway. When asked about your experience and skills, be honest. Do not claim proficiency in programs you have never heard of. Have a black mark or red flag in your resume? Own it and be honest in your explanation. The interviewer will appreciate it.
- Take your time. If posed a question that you have to think about, feel free to say “Let me think about that for a moment” before giving your answer. Take some time to gather your thoughts and formulate a clear response. Feeling rushed to answer quickly and make it up as you go can cause you to fumble your words, repeat yourself, or not fully answer the question.
- Ask questions. When given the opportunity, feel free to ask questions about the job or company. The interviewers will appreciate that you are engaging in the process. If you can make a list of a few potential questions ahead of time – even better!
- But DO NOT ask about salary. The interview is not the appropriate time to ask how much you will be paid. If the company makes you an offer, they will provide you with the salary/benefits/vacation information at that time. Unless the interviewer brings it up – do not mention it.
- Send a thank you note. Or email – depending on the setting. Be sure to include everyone who met with you. Thank them for taking the time to meet, and let them know to contact you should they have any other questions.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful. Just relax and be yourself. Good luck!