Top 10 Tips to Land Your Interview

Going into an interview can be nerve-wracking. Your palms get clammy and try not to stumble over your words. You may even get stuck on a question because you couldn’t get your mind off getting through the interview. There are so many things that can go wrong in the few minutes you have in front of the hiring manager; it can make it difficult to focus on creating a good first impression.

Most of us have had interviews that went less than perfect, and the hiring manager was less than impressed. To avoid blowing your next interview, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting a callback, and hopefully landing the job.

Here are the top 10 tips you need to remember for your next interview:

1. Dress for the Job

You’ve heard the saying, “Dress to impress.” This is exactly what you are going to be doing for your interview. The more professional you can dress, the better.

Even if the job you’re going for has a casual dress code, coming dressed professionally will show the employer that you are serious about the job. The dress code of the company has little to do with how you should wear to your interview.

Rarely is it appropriate to dress down for your interview. Underdressing looks sloppy and tells your potential employer that you don’t put a lot of effort into the things that you do.

If you are a man, you should wear a suit with a matching jacket and slacks. Be sure to wear a tie that is conservative and not too crazy. Avoid flashy colors. Be sure your hair is neat, and you are clean shaven or neatly trimmed.

If you are a woman, the same ideas apply. Be sure your hair in neat, out of the way, and you don’t go overboard on the makeup. Jewelry is acceptable, but you should not have anything too flashy or bulky. Keep it simple. Ideally, you want to wear a suit with a skirt or pants along with a nice blouse under your jacket.

The idea when dressing for an interview is to look professional and not to wear anything that is distracting. You want the focus to be on you and your talents.

2. Turn Off Your Cell Phone

Leave your phone in the car. If you do end up taking it into the interview with you, leave it out of sight and turn it off. Don’t let it make sounds, even on vibrate. Don’t even check it for the time.

If you’re that concerned about the time, you can wear a watch. Checking your phone makes you look distracted, even if you’re just waiting in the lobby. You never know who’s watching and a part of the hiring process. Phone distractions are a huge productivity drain on employers so someone who’s incessantly checking their phone could signal that you’re probably going to do that when you’re bored at work.

It also takes your attention away from what you should be focusing on — getting the job you really want. Take the waiting time to go over your resume a few more times.

3. Bring an Extra Copy of Your Resume

Chances are, the employer will have a copy of your resume, but it is good to bring a few copies just in case.

Bringing copies of your resume to your interviews shows the employer that you are prepared. Often you may be interviewed by more than one person so have a few handy to pass around is a good idea.

Bringing along your resumes also gives you the ability to quickly reference your background, preventing you from stuttering or stumbling with talking about your experience.

4. Research the Company

Before you head to your interview, do some research on the company. The more you know, the better. If you know who will be interviewing you is it also a good idea to see what you can learn about this person and their role within the company you hope to work for.

By the time you go in for your interview, you should know what the company does and their mission statement. You can usually find this on the companies webpage.

As you go through their website look at who runs the company, their About Us page and even take a look at their blogs to brush up on the newest products they offer and the trends happening in that industry.

Twenty minutes of research can really impress the people who are interviewing you. This will help you better prepare for any questions they may ask you.

5. Show Up Early

Being on time for an interview means showing up early. Be sure to leave your house in plenty of time so you can avoid any delays, such as traffic or finding parking in an unfamiliar area.

If you can’t be early, avoid being late at all costs. Being late can be a big red flag for the employer. If you are late to the interview, how will you treat your job once you have it? Not showing up on time can cost you the job and all the hard work you put into preparing for it will be wasted.

6. Listen Closely to the Questions Being Asked

Nerves can be terrible when going to a job interview. They cause you to lose focus and can make your mind wander. You can start panicking, which can then lead you to miss out on what is being said to you.

The most important thing you can do when you are in an interview is to listen carefully to each question and answer to the best of your ability.

Don’t just think about what you’ll say next. Think about what you are being asked. Focus on answering that question to the best of your ability. If you rehearse everything you were going to say and you weren’t listening carefully to what you are being asked, you might miss out on valuable opportunities to address all of their concerns.

7. Have Questions Ready for the Employer

Typically, at the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions for them. After doing your research on the company, one of the biggest things you can do is ask more in-depth questions about stuff that you researched.

This is an excellent way not only to let them know that you’re genuinely interested in the company but that you also took the time to research who they are. This is another way to build rapport and become a memorable candidate.

Here are some sample questions you may want to consider for your next interview:

  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
  • What is the culture like at this company?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • What are your expectations for this department/someone who comes into this role?

8. Don’t be Negative About Your Past Employers

When asked why you were let go or you left an old job don’t just chalk it up to the management being crap. Being negative about a past employer can make it appear to the hiring manager that you have a bad attitude. This can make them hesitant to make you part of their team. The last thing an employer wants is to bring on someone who will negatively impact their company culture.

Companies rely on the attitudes of people to carry out their vision and mission. If you have a negative outlook, they may feel that in the face of adversity or something not going your way, you would be negative inside the company. Make sure to talk positively about why you left and use phrases like, “I want to work in a place where I can continue to learn and grow,” or “I’m ready for the next step.”

Being positive and putting your best foot forward and is a great way to show the employer that you’re the kind of person they want in their company culture.

After all, if you talk negatively about a past employer then what will stop you from speaking negatively about them?

9. Don’t Talk Salary Unless They Ask

You will go into many interviews not knowing how much they are planning on offering for the position. Salary can be a huge factor in determining whether or not you will accept a position that is offered to you. Although salary is important and you want a general idea of how much you would take for the job, you do not want to talk about pay during your first interview unless you are asked about it.

If you have a great interview, you may be asked to return for a second, and it is during this time that questions over salary and benefits are more acceptable. The closer you are to being hired, the more appropriate the question is.

Talking about salary too early may give them the wrong impression that you’re only there because they’re going to pay you not because you really want the job.

10. Show Excitement for the Job

When you get to the end of your interview, be sure you are excited about the position. Tell the interviewer that you can’t wait to hear back from them and that you are looking forward to the next interview.

Let them know you can really see yourself working at that company that you want to be there long-term. Showing them that you are positive, and you want to be here after talking to them will ensure them that they made the right interview choice and can increase the likelihood of success.

Use these 10 simple tips at your next job interview to ensure you make the best impression possible. Appearance, punctuality, and building rapport are as important as having the right qualifications to fill the job. The interview should not only highlight your skills but show how you will be a valuable addition to their company.

And, if you are applying for jobs, be sure to consider a few things first:

Originally published at on September 9, 2018.

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