7 Interview Tips to Land a Job
These days, landing a first interview isn’t enough to snag your dream job. Gone are the days of submitting your resume, showing up for a single interview and then starting your shiny new job the next week.
Research shows that the average length of the interview process in the United States is nearly 23 days, with over half (51%) of companies requiring three interviews before hire and nearly a quarter (22%) requiring four interviews before hire.
You’ve got to be prepped and ready for a whole series of interviews, one after the other, to land a position in the big leagues. But how do you do that? Of course, it comes down to perfecting your answers and showing your capability at every cost, but there’s even more to the story.
Here are some ways you can be sure you’ll catch the eye of the hiring manager and land the interview!
1. Pick Your Outfit Carefully
Dressing for a job interview isn’t just about making a good first impression. It’s also about indicating to the hirers that you easily fit into the company culture. Do your research to determine exactly how formal your potential new co-workers dress at work and then dial the formality factor up by about 25%. For example, if you’re interviewing somewhere with a very casual dress code, don’t show up wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Instead, rock khakis and a button-up so you look polished but not stuffy.
2. Look as Polished as Possible
You may have selected the perfect outfit, shoes and haircut, but if you’ve got dirt, stains or pet fur all over you, it’s all for naught. The key to looking like the sharpest version of yourself is to focus on looking pressed, polished and perfectly put-together. Here are a few important tips to remember when getting ready:
- Shine and buff your shoes beforehand. Research shows that interviewers look at the back of a person’s shoes in almost every interview, so make sure there are no scuffs or scratches on the back of your shoes.
- Have your outfit dry cleaned and pressed. Nothing looks better than a fresh-from-the-cleaner’s suit. If you want to make a good first impression, have your outfit cleaned and steamed before the big day.
- Have an off-the-rack suit tailored. Need to wear a suit? Skip the expensive name brands and instead grab one that’s cheap, leaving room for the price of professional tailoring. A cheap but well-tailored suit will go further than an expensive but ill-fitting one any day.
- Go minimal on the accessories, and don’t wear anything too flashy. Even if you own a Rolex or TAG Heuer, leave it at home. Opt for something equally as polished looking but not so expensive.
3. Pay Attention to the Little Details
Smart-looking glasses, the perfect pair of dress socks, a mild cologne or perfumr… these are the little things that are going to ensure you get invited back for round two. The day before your interview, get fully dressed and set out everything you’ll need for the day.Make sure that your hands and nails are in tip-top shape for that all-important handshake, so if you’ve got the time get a manicure, but if not always having a manicure kit at home definitely comes in handy. You may also want to consider running your look by someone you trust (preferably, someone stylish who works in a similar environment to the place where you’re interviewing) before committing to it.
4. Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Body language is a huge deal during an interview . It not only can help indicate to your assessors that you’re a smart, capable employee, but it can even help you trick yourself into busting the nerves and feeling super confident while you’re in your interview. Smile, sit up straight and make eye contact with the person who’s talking. You should only carry a single item with you, such as a briefcase or a coat, to avoid looking disorganized or disheveled. Lastly, before you go in, practice power posing (see: Amy Cuddy’s popular TED Talk) to give yourself a big boost of self-assurance before heading into any interview.
5. Don’t Ramble
Being a good interviewer is, of course, about being able to express yourself in a way that’s strong, clear and compelling. Try your best to stay on a single topic with hyper-focus, avoiding rambling into other subject matters or getting distracted. This is one of those things that you can really strengthen with practice, so ask a friend or family member to give you some mock interview questions so you feel strong and ready before you head in.
6. Ask Questions and Listen
Being a good listener is one of the fundamental components of overall likability, not just in interpersonal relationships, but in professional settings, too. Make sure you’re being an active listener—intermittently responding and reacting as your interviewers speak—and try to formulate thoughtful questions to ask towards the end. This will signal confidence to your interviewer while also indicating that you’re open to learning.
7. Go Old-School and Modern
If you’re interviewing with a group of people at various age groups, try to cater to everyone’s idea of professionalism. Definitely DO print out your resume on fancy paper and present in a nice folder on the day of the interview. But don’t forget to send a follow-up email an hour or two after you’ve left. Bridging the gap between traditional and up-to-date is important to exhibit the fact that you’re adaptable and not set in your ways.
Highlight Your Best Characteristics
At the end of the day, the thing you want to remember when heading into any first interview is this: You have strong qualifications and great characteristics that you need to convey to your interviewer in a way that’s genuine and thoughtful. If you highlight your best traits and leave them with a positive impression, you can be sure you’ll be asked back for interview two (and three and four).
Sarah began with Pete and Pedro after graduating from the University of Connecticut. Sarah works to build relationships with like-minded individuals and companies in order to share their knowledge across various industries.