1. Have Your Clothes Ready in Advance
You have to be prepared for a job interview on short notice. That means you may not have enough time to take the right outfit to the dry cleaners. Job interviews can be stressful enough so the last thing you want to do is feel rushed looking for something to wear. Furthermore, you don’t want to arrive to an interview with a wrinkled outfit or one that does not match.
2. Make Sure You Arrive Early
Arriving late to a job interview will give negative first impression. Don’t take any chances. Expect higher than usual traffic. Expect google maps to take you in the wrong direction. Expect difficulty in finding parking.
3. Take the Initiative to Meet Anyone You Can Before and After the Interview
If you arrive early, make small talk with anyone you can. You may find that even the receptionist at the company may have some influence on which candidate is ultimately hired.
4. Don’t Come Empty Handed
There are some things you should always bring to an interview, including multiple copies of your resume, a folder/notebook and a pen.
5. Research the Employer Before the Job Interview
Search Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, news articles, blogs, etc. for information on the employer, including information on operations, target clients and competitors. By having a better understanding of the employer’s challenges, you can detail how can you help the employer reach its objectives and how you can otherwise add value.
6. Be Prepared for Questions on Your Weak Areas
Anticipate any potential reservations an interviewer may have about you and be prepared to address them. This could be limited work experience, gaps in employment, sudden termination, etc. Figure out a way to compensate for your limitations and/or explain how any alleged limitations will not affect your ability to do the job. Remember, the job interviewer will try to screen out candidates and will search for issues of concern.
7. Don’t be Timid
You want the job interviewer to recognize you as an equal and respect you. It is important to display confidence in yourself and the value you will bring to the company.
8. Review Your Resume
Your resume does not tell your whole story. So be prepared for follow-up questions. Always tailor your responses to the job you are seeking (i.e., explain how your experience prepared you for this new job). You should know your job history inside and out; but avoid regurgitating your resume verbatim like a robot.
9. Research the Person Conducting the Interview
If you know the person interviewing you, see if you can find any information on the person. You may find you have common backgrounds, friends, or interests. You will have a higher probability of getting the job if the interviewer relates to you.
10. Sleep Well
Try to relax the night before the interview and set multiple alarms. If you have trouble sleeping, practice relaxation methods or other activities to help you sleep.
11. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
You don’t want to skip breakfast the day of the interview. You will want something in your stomach so that your hunger will not be a distraction. You should also avoid over eating which may result in being sluggish. And don’t over caffeinate!
12. Never Trash your Prior Employer
No employer wants to hire a candidate that demonstrates negativity. Even if you despise your prior employer or job, always be positive. Emphasize the good qualities of everyone you have worked with or for. You don’t want to give the impression that you may be a difficult employee or may speak negatively of the company at a later time.
13. Conduct Mock Interviews
As with anything else in life, practice will help performance. See if you can find someone to conduct a mock interview. Ask whoever is available to perform the interview and ask for honest feedback and criticism.
14. Emphasize Your Qualities/Skills
There are some qualities interviewers like to hear about any potential candidate (e.g., reliable, hard-working, fast learner, etc.). Not only should you be prepared to state those qualities that you possess; but detail how you will put them to use in your new role.
15. Proper Body Language
Your unspoken demeanor can have a major impact on how an interviewer perceives you. Some basic elements you should be conscious of include a firm handshake, sitting in an upright position, maintaining eye contact, giving an enthusiastic appearance, never mumbling, etc.
16. Speak Slowly and Coherently
When asked a question, you do not have to rush to answer. Think about what you are going to say, take a pause, and respond clearly and firmly. You don’t always have to say the first thing that comes to your mind. By not rushing your answers, you will also find yourself more actively listening to the questions being asked and avoid cutting off the interviewer.
17. Try to connect with the Interviewer
Although the interview is a formal process, you can make small talk. You want to present yourself as likeable. Ask the interviewer about himself and try to determine what you have in common. Try to use his name throughout the conversation. Any personal connection you may develop with the interviewer will only help your chances in landing the job.
18. Flip the Script
Prepare a list of thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer before the interview. You should prepare these questions while you research the company and the job opening. Your questions should show that you are intuitive, knowledgeable and ready to add value.
Always send some form of follow-up to thank the interviewer, to reiterate your interest and (again) explain why you are the ideal candidate. Not only does your follow-up demonstrate initiative; but it will keep you in the interviewer’s mind when a decision is made for the job opening.
20. Don’t get Discouraged
Irrespective of how you prepare or perform, not every job interview will result in a job offer. On the upside, interviewing is a learning experience that can better prepare you for the next interview. You may want to request feedback as to why you were not hired.