Today’s job market is highly competitive. Whether you are new or experienced in job searching, the entire process—from resume creation to getting hired—is stressful.
The most crucial step in landing your dream job is a successful interview. Thirty-three percent of bosses know if they will hire somebody in the first 90 seconds of an interview. Preparing for an interview is a daunting task (especially with this statistic), but there are steps you can take to reduce your stress and successfully secure the job you are seeking.
1. Research the company and the job
You successfully made it past the resume round and secured an interview. Now what?
A common question during the interview process is “What do you know about us?” Take the time to prepare this answer in advance by researching both the company and its key personnel. The best places to find information are the company website, LinkedIn and the company’s other social media pages.
These resources will provide you with an understanding of the company’s values, mission and goals. Align this information with your personal values and goals to show why you are the right candidate. Knowledge sets the bar for other candidates they meet.
2. Dress for the occasion
First impressions are vital and are often driven by appearance. How you look and dress are the first things potential employers see after your resume. Impress them by dressing appropriately. These days, appropriate dress does not automatically correlate to formal business attire. Ask your potential employer in advance about the office dress code—your goal in an interview is to make the employer imagine you as part of the team.
3. Make eye contact
Eye contact is another aspect of the first impression that employers take notice of during an interview. Eye contact confirms you care about what the interviewer is saying, and that you’re confident in yourself and the skills you bring to the table. In addition, eye contact can help to improve communication and listening skills, and overall, increases other people’s trust in you.
Maintain eye contact with your interviewers when listening and answering questions. They are more apt to take you seriously as a candidate and trust you to be part of their team.
4. Memorize your experience and qualifications
The interview is your opportunity to present your personality and abilities to potential employers. Do not use the time to reiterate what your resume already says you are capable of accomplishing—they already have that information in front of them. Answer their questions with real-life scenarios that illustrate your abilities.
Use both success stories and failures to outline your strengths and weaknesses. Many interviewees shy away from talking about weaknesses, but everybody has a weakness. Acknowledging your weaknesses up front gives you the opportunity to show that you are capable of learning and growing from them. Honesty strengthens others respect and trust in you as a future member of their team.
5. Stay focused
It is easy to get side-tracked during an interview. Stay on topic and focused when answering questions. Going off topic makes you appear scattered and unorganized. Repeat the question to confirm you have a full understanding. Take a breath before answering to organize your thoughts. Taking the time to fully listen and answer the question shows the interviewer you are confident and poised. Both of these are traits employers want to see in potential team members.
6. Follow up with a thank-you
Don’t get lost in the sea of other candidates. Make yourself stand out. After the interview, send a brief, hand-written note of thanks to your interviewers.
Don’t let stress overcome you. Follow these steps for a more successful job interview. Incorporating these strategies will increase your confidence and build trust with your potential employer, so you can effectively show them how you can bring value to their team.