How to score an interview
As springtime rolls around, it may be time for you to make a switch and begin applying for a new job or your first job. The job search and application process can be intimidating enough, but if you’re lucky to land an interview feelings of nervousness can snowball – fast. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are a memorable and impressive candidate before you even walk in the door.
Nothing impresses an interviewer like knowing the ins and outs of a company or publication before you’re even hired. Study the website of the company you are interviewing with and take note of important details like current clients, readership demographics and the key players in a company. During the interview, supplement each of your answers with a fact that you know about the company. For example, if your interviewer asks about your previous experience working with clients, elaborate on your experience and mention one of the company’s clients that you personally admire. A little prior knowledge goes a long way.
Perfect your handshake
Let’s face it – no one wants to shake a limp, less-than-enthused hand. First impressions mean everything in an interview, and your handshake should communicate your confidence and enthusiasm. Make a point to extend your hand first when greeting your interviewer, and maintain eye contact during the initial greeting. Be sure to smile, too!
Watch your body language
Hold a “practice” interview with a friend and have them give you feedback on your body language. Fidgeting or nervous movements will be detectable in the interview. One of the best, most successful postures to maintain during an interview is legs crossed at the ankle and hands loosely resting in your lap. Gesturing with your hands is fine, but don’t overdo it with wild motions that are better suited for Broadway!
Keep it conversational
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to come across as a conversational and approachable professional in the initial interview. Too often we let nerves take over and crank out dry, generic answers in interviews. Remember that your interviewer is a person, too, and they want to get to know you. Treat the interview like a conversation. However, be wary of letting slang slip in, and watch your “ums” and “likes.”
Above all else, remember that your interviewer was in your shoes at one point in their career – they want you to succeed, and chances are, if you’ve landed an interview you have a decent shot at nabbing the job.
After shaking hands for a final time and taking a huge breath of relief, remember that following up with your interviewer is nearly as important at mastering the interview itself. Shoot off a brief email the afternoon of your interview, and have a hand-written thank you note in the mail within 48 hours. Your interviewer will appreciate the sincere gesture and will be thinking of you far after the final handshake.