So you’ve tailored your resume to the job opening, you are well-groomed, and you know the company’s background. Now, it is time to complete your journey and attend that interview. Remember these tips in order to avoid being off-putting, either verbally or physically, and to finally get that job you’ve been preparing for.
1) Start your big day right.
a) Do not smoke right before the interview, as you will come in smelling of substance that is either offensive or illegal.
b) Avoid any potential emotional or physical conflicts on the day of the interview. Sleep at least 8 hours the night before. Avoid any getting into arguments or emotionally charged situations, as they may distract you on the day of the interview. Run, meditate, do some relaxing yoga exercises, and do what you need to in order to have the least amount of stress before entering the interview.
c) Make sure to leave very early to avoid any sudden changes in traffic, car problems, or getting lost. This point is crucial as you are now making an indelible impression on your punctuality when you enter the interviewer’s office. Arrive early. This can not be overstated. Use Google Maps and its traffic prediction tool to plot out your trip and get a rough estimate of how long it will take to arrive.
2) Body language is important
a) Stand tall. You’ve practiced your posture, now utilize it. A profound, upright posture shows that you are confident in your actions, even before you say a word.
b) Maintain the right amount of eye contact. Through tough, unexpected questions eye contact states that you are not deflecting or frayed by questions that tax you. Break eye contact from time to time, as too much may seem manic. If you have a hard time looking someone directly in the eye, pick a fixed point on their forehead or nose and stay fixed on that.
c) Do not fiddle with your hands. Keep them relaxed and out of your pockets. If you have a problem with this, do not bring a pen into the interview as you might inadvertently begin to fiddle.
3) Be your best self
a) Do not try to be someone you are not. If you decide to act differently than yourself you may stumble with your fake character and seem inauthentic. If you are normally quiet and shy, do your best to improve on your conversational skills and friendliness before the interview as that will warm you up to your interviewer. Smile.
b) Be articulate. You do not need to make frivolous small talk, but having a full, fluid conversation with your interviewer shows that you know how to handle yourself around others, and is natural evidence of relaxed confidence. It helps to walk in with some degree of passion about the job opening, as then that will naturally lead to positive conversation about why you are perfect for the job. In an interview setting, being articulate has a reciprocal relationship with being friendly.
c) Avoid incendiary or controversial topics. Do not curse, discuss political or religious beliefs (there are exceptions to the rule: say if the institution is political or religious). Do not be eager to share your shortcomings or emotional handicaps. Avoid bringing up a bad history unless you are asked or legally required to disclose something (such as a criminal history). Do not insult the interviewer or point out a flaw in their personal presentation.
After taking these steps, the last thing to remember is that job interviewing is a hit or miss process. Do not take it personally if the company does not hire you or you felt like you had a bad interview. Like anything in life, interviewing well is a skill that is learned over time, so do not become discouraged. If you prepare well, and treat every interview as a learning opportunity, you chances for success increase every time. Good luck and nail that interview!
Written by Kevin Franklin, a Senior at the University of South Florida’s School of Mass Communications.