Are you in the process of interviewing for an important new job—one that you feel is just the right fit? You’re obviously in the running if your resume passed muster. But here’s where the rubber meets the road: Can you score critical points in a face-to-face interview? Can you showcase your knowledge, skills and experience with charisma?
If you’re not completely sure, consider the following points that can help you interview well and get the job:
1. Research and prepare.
Are you well-versed in the employer and industry that you are interviewing for? If not, take the time to do some nuanced research. These details are likely to come up during the interview and you can only help your position by being conversant, if not fluent, in both topics. Also, if this is an industry that may consider throwing out a fact pattern to test your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), think about how to sharpen your saw on the core KSAs that may differentiate you from the next candidate.
2. Groom well.
Physical appearance is a decisive aspect of every interview, whether we are willing to admit it or not. Grooming choices tell a story about who we are and how we will show up in the new space. Every potential employer looks for cues that will help them to determine how well you will fit in—even before you ever open your mouth. What do your grooming choices to say about you? Are they appropriate? Leave nothing to chance.
3. Arrive early.
Nothing says “Don’t hire me” like arriving late for an interview. Avoid this result by overestimating the time you need for grooming, miscellaneous preparation, and travel. Depending on mode and distance of travel, you should make arrangements to arrive at least 15-20 minutes in advance, no later. This will help you catch your breath and get into place without being frazzled.
4. Toot it.
The interview is not the time to become an introvert. To the contrary—it’s an opportunity to shine and demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the position. That doesn’t mean that you get to tout your laundry list of wins indiscriminately, though. Having sensory acuity and knowing when and how to highlight your bright spots is critical. If you’re not sure, hire a coach or practice with a good friend who can effectively challenge you and help you to come across with finesse.
5. Be yourself.
Even though the interviewer has probably never met you before, he or she can likely tell if you are putting on airs. Just be yourself. Act and speak as you normally would in any other professional setting. Cracking off-color jokes (because you’re nervous!) or being stiff in your body language or remarks will make the interviewer feel as though you are not being authentic. Remember, they are interested in getting to know you—not an alter ego.
6. Don’t drop the ball.
The interview is not really over after the last question and handshake have occurred. Not really. Following up is the best way to seal the deal and demonstrate your interest and professionalism. Stay top of mind by doing so within 24 hours. You’d be surprised at how many people forget this detail. It’s yet another opportunity to create a positive impression and, if you’ve done well in the other areas, seal the deal.
To your success!
Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her website, www.wordsmithrapport.com