1.) Research, Research!You got the call for an interview (congrats, by the way). But, now what? Well, the most important thing you can do is to prepare. And, one of the best ways to do that is to do your research. Whether you landed an interview with Google or Value Village, you have to spend time researching the company. It’s important to be prepared and take an interest in what the company does and what they stand for. Take a look at their values and research whether or not they get involved in the community. Not only will researching the company give you a better idea of what you are getting into but it will also show you if you have any common interests.
2.) The HandshakePractice your handshake! Seriously. Having a firm, solid handshake will ensure you elude confidence and are prepared for what’s to come. The night before grab your significant other (or friend) and practice! You’ll be surprised how much feedback they can provide you. Maybe your grip is really hard and hurts their knuckles, maybe your handshake is too limp and screams “I’m not really into this.” Whatever the case, having a good handshake is a sure way to impress the interviewer.
3.) The ResumePerfect your resume. Make sure you showcase your strengths and your biggest accomplishments. Include internships, certifications and volunteer work in addition to your work experience and education. Have a friend look over your resume and give you some input. This will also ensure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
4.) Dress to ImpressWhatever job you interview for, no matter how big or how small, has to be treated seriously and with respect. Now you may think, “It doesn’t matter how I dress, my resume will WOW them!” Although your resume should wow them (and let’s hope it does for your piggy bank’s sake), we can’t ignore the fact that first impressions matter. Whether we like it or not, they matter. With that being said, you want to present yourself as a hard working, serious individual–a grown up, if you will. Dressing in a tank-top and jeans won’t give that impression (yup, I’ve seen it with my own two eyes). So here’s a few ways to make sure you dress to impress:
- Make sure your clothes are clean.
- Make sure your outfit is appropriate. No short skirts and no baggy jeans showing your boxers. No jeans at all actually, even if they’re Levi’s.
- Try to match your outfit well. A safe option is a pair of black dress pants with a nice dress shirt–maybe get a little crazy and even iron the clothes.
- If all else fails, start over. If you’re spending too much time wondering if the outfit is appropriate or looks professional, ditch it. Start over and pick something else.
5.) Tick, Tock, Tick, TockDon’t be late! Even if punctuality isn’t your thing, no one likes to be kept waiting. If anything, show up early. This will give you time to relax, settle in and focus on what’s to come.
6.) Be Nice to the ReceptionistThis tip is quite simple. Be nice to the receptionist and any other staff member you encounter. Some companies ask their receptionists what they thought and believe it or not, if they didn’t like you and thought you were rude, their superiors will take that into account. Be polite, respectful and nice to anyone you come across. You never know their position within a company and how much their opinion is valued. Plus, no one likes a jerk.
7.) Make Eye ContactMake some eye contact, even throw in a few smiles here and there. Show that you’re focused and friendly. Making eye contact with your interviewer will show them that you are confident and that you mean business. Body language can say a lot about you and looking away all the time just looks shady. So, don’t be shady. Make eye contact.
8.) Remain Calm and Be HonestAlthough interviews can bring on some nerves and anxiety, try to remain calm and remember to be honest. By staying calm you allow yourself to have better focus and greater understanding of what the interviewer is asking you. It’s also very important to answer the questions to the best of your ability and to remain honest.
9.) Ask Relevant QuestionsSince you researched the company, you should have some questions for the interviewer. The questions can be specific or broad. You can ask about the company as a whole or you can narrow it down to what your duties would be in a given day. It’s always nice to ask questions at the end of an interview, not only to show interest to the interviewer, but to also gain some insight for yourself.
10.) Stand OutLastly, be creative! At the end of the day, there are some things you shouldn’t risk (such as your interview outfit; remember, you have to keep it professional, now is not the time to show off your tie dying skills). But that doesn’t mean you can’t stand out! Remember, this interview is just as much about you as it is about them. Showcase yourself. Show them why you are an asset and why you’re different. Although there is no direct way to do this since everyone is different, I’m here to remind you, to be you!
Lina Stoyanova has a degree from the University of Windsor in Communication, Media and Film, as well as Psychology. She does all of the content for websites, including page copy, banner copy, brochures, signs and other text elements. She participates in branding activities as well as advertising projects. She freelances frequently for the Windsor Star and Windsor Business.