By LISA SWAN
You’re nervous about your upcoming job interview. It’s understandable. After all, some employers may try to stump you in the interview just to see how you handle it. These days, making a mistake while hiring could ultimately cost an employer lots of money and time, so they want to make sure they have hired the best person available.
So how can you navigate the minefield that a job interview can present for you, and make the company want to hire you? Here are some tips:
- Do your research on the business: You don’t want to go into the interview knowing very little about the company. Read what you can about the business, and what challenges they face. You also use LinkedIn to look up the person or people interviewing you in. By doing so, you might get to know a little more about their background.
- Study the job posting, and know it inside and out: You should know by heart exactly what would be expected of you in the position. In addition, be able to answer how you could do the job. You don’t want to talk about skills that have nothing to do with the job in question.
- Practice your answers to interview questions: As you go on more and more interviews, you may face some of these same questions in your interview. Work on answering typical interview questions to show your knowledge and experience. Keep in mind that you never want to talk more than 90 seconds at once in the interview. You can also check online, or read a book on interview questions, if you need to learn more.
- Dress to impress: This means an appropriate interview suit or outfit that is ironed and stain-free, without any lint or pet hairs on the clothing. Shoes need to be shined. And for women, if they are interviewing for a conservative company, they should wear pantyhose. The standards for exactly what to wear may depend upon the industry you are interviewing in, but generally speaking, it is better to be more conservative than to be too adventurous with your outfit.
- Show up a little early – and prepared: Leave early for the interview so that if you have any traffic or public transportation snafus, you can handle them. But don’t show up at the interview location any earlier than 5 to 10 minutes ahead of time. Any earlier will be inconvenient for the company. In addition, be sure to bring a pen, a notepad, and extra copies of your resume.
- Have questions about the company: The job interview is a conversation. If you have no questions about the company, you could come across as unprepared. Have some intelligent questions ready to go, and pay attention to what the interviewer says. Doing so will have the added benefit of helping you come up with more questions.
- Shake hands, make eye contact with the interviewer, and show enthusiasm: You want to come across as an energetic go-getter, not a slug who would rather be home in his pajamas.
- Use positive visualization and breathing techniques to calm any jitters: Visualize yourself doing well in the interview, and getting the job. If you’re feeling nervous, take a deep breath and be conscious of your breathing.
- Don’t forget to take a few seconds to answer tough questions: It is okay to think before you speak. Better that you actually come up with a thoughtful answer than you babble on and on while you try to think. Some people use the “that’s a great question” time-staller, but you don’t want to use that more than once or twice during the interview.
- Have a good answer to the question of why you want to work there: It is important to say that you want the job, and why. But the answer should not have anything about the money or the benefits.
Follow these tips, and you could shine in your job interview. Good luck.