UPDATED: May 17, 2022
The stress of job hunting is real. Countless hours applying, updating cover letters and resumes, and researching. Once you land the coveted interview, it’s time to deliver the goods. Simply showing up in a competitive market won't land your dream job. This is how you nail your job interview.
One of the best ways to energize yourself for an interview is to see it as a sales call. You are the product and the employer is a potential buyer. You are selling your labor and time in exchange for compensation.
Human capital isn’t the same thing as a material object that is purchased and passively used, but employers think about how someone might fit into their overall organization. You have to show an employer that you are superior to the competition.
Whether you are interviewing, negotiating your salary or asking for a raise at work, the ability to sell yourself is an important life and business skill.
Do Your Homework
You want to check the company’s social media accounts, read their website, research other candidates' interview experience, and employee reviews. If you know the name of your interviewer, find them on LinkedIn to find shared contacts or common interests. With a little diligence, you can set yourself apart from less-prepared competitors.
Understand the Job
You need to understand the job and how you can fit in. Much of this information is found in the job description: responsibilities, desired skills, expectations, experience, etc. Employers are looking for someone who will be a valuable addition to their team. You should be prepared to describe how you would add value to your new employer.
Know How to Promote Yourself
In a sales job you might be an excellent closer. You build rapport easily with colleagues and prospective clients. For technical fields, you might have a particular educational background. Whatever they want, you’ll need to highlight your matching skills.
Be able to articulate how well you know these programs and demonstrate it. Self-promotion goes beyond just saying what skills you have. Be able to back it up with specific examples of solving problems.
Prepare to Impress
While facts and data are important, the employer will hire someone that represents the company well.
Look Your Best
Personal appearance is one of the first things that interviewers will notice about you, even before the first question is asked. Consider finding out what people wear to work everyday.
For instance, law firms are full-on business attire. Manufacturing firms tend to have a relatively casual dress code on the production floor, with higher standards in the office. Whatever the corporate standards are, be sure to plan your wardrobe accordingly.
Whether the employer is button-down formal or the employees wear jeans, you should always look neat and clean. Wash and comb your hair. Make sure your fingernails are manicured and clean. Ensure that your outfit fits properly and doesn’t have any wrinkles, stains, holes, or pet hair. Looking your best on interview day can inspire confidence and help you deliver.
Be on Time
If you aren’t sure where the business is located, do a test run a day or two prior to the interview. Plan your route and allow plenty of time for traffic or finding a parking spot. Calculate the travel time between your house and the location of the interview and how long it took to park. Allow time for a bathroom break and to make sure your attire is in order. Ideally, you should arrive 10-20 minutes before your interview to settle into the environment and review your game plan.
Display Confidence in Your Abilities
A lack of self-confidence is often a red flag for interviewers looking to fill a position. Would you rather hire someone who “thinks” they can do a job, or one that “knows” they can do a job? Candidates who are trying to break into a new industry or have just graduated need to convince employers that they can do the work.
Show confidence without being arrogant. If the interviewer offers to shake your hand, give a firm handshake. Offer natural eye contact, show positive emotions, and display a friendly demeanor. Walk with confidence with your head up and shoulders back.
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