Top Tips for Before, During and After an Interview

photo-1416339276121-ba1dfa199912Suit? Check. Resume? Check. Questions? Check. You’ve covered the basics, but there are plenty of other steps in between that can prepare you to rock that interview beyond fundamentals.

Here are some tips before, during and after the interview that’ll fine tune your performance and eliminate some anxiety.

Before the Interview:

  1. Write Down Your Strengths. Knowing your strengths gives you confidence and reminds you why you’re suited for the position. Create a list and memorize your best traits so you’ll be ready to talk about them during an interview.
  1. Learn Everything About the Company. The best way to show interest in the position and be prepared for questions is to research the company thoroughly. Check out its website and social media. Know its philosophy and mission. Most importantly, be familiar with the job description that was provided.
  1. Practice Your Speaking Skills. It’s easy to talk fast when we’re nervous. Work on answering questions to yourself in a slow, steady tone. Stand in front of a mirror to read your facial expressions. It never hurts to speak with a smile.
  1. Take Care of Yourself. Feeling good physically can be just as important as feeling good mentally. Get plenty of sleep the day before. Eat breakfast so you’re not distracted by a gurgling stomach, and sip water before the interview to relieve a dry mouth.
  1. Come With Questions. When an interviewer asks if you have questions, there shouldn’t be crickets chirping. Employers like to see interest, so think of investigative questions you can ask that’ll help you determine if this job is the right fit.
  1. Update Your Social Media. No, I don’t mean posting a status about your nervousness and asking for advice on the perfect outfit. Check your social media accounts to make sure everything is professional and your accounts reflect your professional goals. Pay special attention to LinkedIn, since this is the first place employers will go to check you out. They may even base their hiring decisions upon what they see; 89 percent of recruiters have hired from LinkedIn.

During the Interview:

  1. Use Your Best Etiquette. Without being too stiff, remember to mind your manners and act professionally. Correct your posture, maintain eye contact and refrain from fidgeting or nervous habits. Avoid slang and short phrases.
  1. Think Before You Speak. It’s OK to gather your thoughts for a few seconds before answering a question. That way you have time to provide the best possible answer rather than just rushing into it.
  1. Keep Your Hands Busy With Note-Taking. If you’re still nervous and your fingers are itching to do something, carry a notepad with you and take notes when the interviewer provides interesting points or descriptions. This shows attentiveness and may help you listen better.
  1. Be Open and Prepared for Direct Questions. You may be asked to talk about difficult subjects like your weaknesses. It’s OK to have them, but spin them in a positive light. Don’t let your shortcomings bring down your mood. Don’t forget to prepare for off-the-wall questions, either.
  1. Show Positive Energy. Let the interviewer know that you’re passionate about the position and excited to be there. Flash a smile and relax into the conversation. Remember that the interviewer wants you to succeed. He or she isn’t betting on you to fail.

After the Interview:

  1. Thank the Interviewer. Let this person know that you appreciated their time. A thank you note makes a nice touch and helps you stand out among other applicants.
  1. Recap Your Interview and Make Notes for Improvement. Once you get home, replay the interview in your mind. What did you say that was good? What could you have improved on? Type up your notes so that you’ll be even more prepared for next time.
  1. Tailor Your Follow-Ups. The follow-up is a classic part of the process, but each one should be different. Just like you might tailor your resume or cover letter, compose a follow-up email or letter specific to the person that interviewed you.
  1. Make Connections if Possible. Maybe you spoke to a few other employees or even interviewees while waiting for your turn. Don’t let the conversation stop at small talk. See if they have a professional profile you can follow. You never know where those connections may lead.
  1. Keep Searching for New Jobs. Even if this was your best interview, even if you’ve never been more confident about this job, continue searching for a new one. Nothing is final until you get the call, so pursue as many opportunities as possible so you have something to fall back on.

****Campus to Career thanks to Sarah Landrum for these great tips!!****

sarah landrum head shotAbout the author: Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she’s a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. She’s also the newest addition to the Campus to Career family, serving as a featured contributor on a regular basis. You can find her tweeting during boring speeches @SarahLandrum


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