Let’s face it — interviews are everything. And you aren’t going to get anywhere in your career without taking more than a few of them. Whether you’re trying to break into an industry or make a lateral move from one wing of it to another, the only way to get your face out there, get to know potential employers, and climb up the career ladder is to make a great first impression in job interviews.
But how do you do it? There are several key points to interview preparedness that apply to every industry. From as broad as being able to speak the “language” of your industry to small specifics like fine-tuning your accessories game with cute phone cases from Casely, here are the four most important ways of making a great first impression on interviews.
Study the Company
It’s more fun to focus on how you’re going to look and important to work on your communication skills, but there is nothing more essential than plain old preparedness.
Treat job interviews like tests on the company. If it’s an old company, understand its history. If it’s a company that’s going through a period of transformation, be able to speak to the contours of that change, and offer insights on where you think it might go. You’ll make a huge impression if you come in talking like a peer, not a pupil.
Dress the Part
It goes without saying that your job should value you for the quality of your work and the strength of your ideas, not for the way you look. No one should make a value judgment on your character based on your height, weight, hair color, or anything like that.
However, dressing in a way that suits the company culture, making sure to have your hair well-groomed, your clothes neatly pressed, and your accessories stylish yet unobtrusive is extremely important. It shows that you take pride in cleanliness, orderliness, and presentability. Most jobs are going to require you to keep your work clean, well organized, and presentable. If you can’t even manage to keep yourself organized and presentable, why would they believe you can maintain those qualities in your work?
Engage with Your Interviewers
When in a job interview, you shouldn’t just sit back, listen to instructions, answer questions, and leave. You should take an active role in steering the conversation.
Come prepared with questions about company culture and expected duties. Engage with everyone in the room, not just the chief interviewer asking questions. Make eye contact, shake everyone’s hand, and most importantly, thank everyone for their time. It’ll show you’ll be an active force in any room they ask you to be in.
This is more of a tip for once the interview ends, but it’s just that important.
If you don’t hear back after a job interview, it doesn’t always mean you performed poorly or that they’re moving along with another candidate. People are busy, and things come up. Whether they forgot to reach back out to you or just haven’t made time yet, reaching out within 1-2 weeks shows that you’re a self-starter, and you’ll ask for things you want. That’s an extremely attractive quality in an employee.
Relax and Be Yourself
At the end of the day, a job is just a job. It’s nothing to break your back over if you interview and are rejected or apply and don’t get an interview. There’s always next time and always room for improvement.