It is common knowledge to most people that a job interview is one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Although many people know this, many make the mistake of knowing what they want to do in an interview, but know how to accomplish it. There are a few key things that you can do before an interview to ensure you are successful. Ok lets be honest, obvously you should know that a good first impression goes a long. way. Things like a firm handshake, eye contact and a clean need appearance all help to accomplish this.
What to Wear
This should be the first time you wear your outfit since it has been dry cleaned or washed. Your outfit should be clean and free of stains, and as stated above, is one of the most important aspects of nailing positive first impression. By having a clean and neat appearance you are showing that you actually hold yourself to a high standard and you actually care and respect the company to which you are applying. If at all possible, get an idea of what the people in postions similar to the one you are applying to are wearing and dress similar to them.
Try not to be too nervous about this aspect though. When asked most employers will tell you that it is very hard to overdress. Keep in mind though that there is not one universal outfit for every job out there. For example a person applying to be a CEO of a fortune 500 company will not wear the same outfit as someone applying at a lawn maintenance company. Knowing this, at the very lease start out with a good pair of slacks, a tie and button down shirt to get started on the right track.
Researching the Company
This is often overlooked when people are preparing for an interview. By having knowledge about the company you are applying to, you can be better informed and prepared about what questions to ask the interviewer, (questions to ask during an interview will be discussed in a future post). By having knowledge of the company you are giving an impression to the interviewer that this is not simply another job for you but perhaps you plan on making this a long term stop in your career. Also by researching a company prior to the interview, you are showing that you have the knowledge and skills need to plan ahead, which is a quality many companies desire in an employee.
Even though you think you don’t need it, practice, practice, practice. Practicing answering common questions that a potential employer might ask you. Practice how you are going to relate the traits you posses to the company to which you are applying. Do things like stand in front of the mirror, use friends to mock an interview and test yourself on knowledge of the company. Doing these practice techniques will go a long way in determining how well the interview goes.
Dustin Nichols is a senior at the University of South Florida. He hopes to become a high school teacher in the state of Florida.