Interview Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know
I can’t believe it’s been about a year since I had the last round of interviews for my current position. Let me tell you, that was quite a nervewracking time. It was my first interview for a large, corporate company. Not only did I have to interview with the HR recruiter, but I also had to interview with four other people. I was at the office for three and a half hours basically talking non-stop. Going into the interviews, I thought it was going to be a long day, but the day actually went by incredibly quickly. Of course, I was nervous. I really wanted this job, so how could I not be nervous? At the end of it all, I was really proud of how the interviews went. I think this is because I had a lot of practice before interviewing there and I knew some of the tips and tricks to interview.
While that big round of interviews at my current company was the first time I have ever interviewed for a corporate company, I had tons of practice interviewing at smaller businesses and for other positions. A few weeks before the interviews for my current job, I had interviewed at a small agency for a position that I had originally thought I wanted when I had applied. By the time I went in for the interview, I had already had a phone interview for my current position (that I really REALLY wanted) and a scheduled day to come in for an in-person interview. So, you could imagine that by the time I went in for an interview with the small agency, I was less interested in that position. I didn’t feel pressured to do my best in the interview at the agency, which made me feel less pressured and helped develop my interview skills overall. I wasn’t nervous for this interview, I was more confident in my answers, and I didn’t feel as though the interview had to be perfect. I did so well in the interview that the agency offered me a position, which I ended up turning down because I was waiting to interview for my current position.
This experience, combined with coaching from my mentor and my general open personality, helped me get the role I’m in today. It’s actually incredible to see how far I’ve come in a year. I always tell my mentor that she’s the reason I’m in the position I am today (because she helped me through the process a LOT), but she points out that the credit is 99% to myself and mostly based off how I did in the interview.
Interviews are really scary. Honestly, I used to even get nervous for a phone interview that I would be taking while sitting on my bed with my PJs on. There is no way to completely get rid of the nerves because if you’re nervous then that means you really care about the outcome. There are ways, although, how you can prepare yourself so that your interview goes the best possible way with the things that you can control.
Here are some of my top interview tips:
Dress to Impress
I always dress to impress, whether it’s for a job interview, the first day at work, or just going out to a fancy restaurant. How you dress says a lot about you. For an interview, you want to dress professionally, even if you don’t think the employees have to wear blazers every day. Dress as if you were meeting the CEO. Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of your style into your outfit. I used to bring my Shoe Bakery purse that looks like melting ice cream, or I wore my black heels that have a bow on them. It’s okay to add some of your style into your interview outfit, as long as it is tasteful and subtle.
Remember to be prepared for your interview with any materials you may need. Print out at least 10 copies of your resume. Bring your portfolio or samples of your work so that the interviewer can see what you’re speaking about in action. Bring any other relevant materials you think you will need or would like to talk about in your interview.
Confidence is always key. People can tell when you’re not confident in what you’re saying. If you’re not confident in something you say, it may come off as not being honest about an answer. You definitely don’t want a future employer to think that you’re not honest. Even if you’re not sure how to answer a question, be confident in whatever response you are able to muster up. Don’t doubt yourself or your words because then the interviewer will start to doubt you too.
Believe it or not, people really like to talk about themselves. One amazing tip that my mentor gave me is that people don’t usually remember all of the responses you gave them, but they do remember the quality of the conversations you had. People tend to have a better opinion of the person they interview when a lot of the conversation is centered around the interviewer. So, definitely ask questions about the person who is interviewing you. Ask how she likes her current role, where she worked before this company, what made her want to switch to another company, etc. Keep most of the questions professional, but you can also ask more personal, fun questions if it seems like the interviewer is beginning to switch to more personal topics. For example, if your interviewer says she’s getting married next month, it’s definitely okay to ask her about the wedding plans.
It can be hard but try to relax. Another great piece of advice my mentor gave me is to do Power Poses before going into the interview. They can seem silly, but they actually work to help relax you and give you more confidence. I also really like to practice breathing techniques when I feel nervous. That helps calm my heart rate and gets the pounding feeling out of my chest.
Remember to be honest during your interview. You’re not expected to know everything. During my big round of interviews for my current position, one of the interviewers asked me if I knew about a certain application. She could tell I wasn’t sure how to answer. She said that she wasn’t trying to test me, she was just curious. Most of the time when your interviewer asks you something, she really is just curious.
Don’t try to be the person you think your interviewer wants you to be. The best thing to do really is to just be yourself. Your future employer wants someone who feels comfortable enough to be herself even in stressful situations. If you try to be someone else during an interview, they might hire you for the wrong reasons. Or worse, they might not hire you because they thought you really were the person you were pretending to be. One of the big factors that go into hiring someone is that person’s personality. No one wants to work with someone who’s personality they can’t stand. So, embrace your personality, be you, and if your personality clicks with the rest of the team’s then it is meant to be.
Follow Up with A Thank You
Thank you notes are not dead, especially not handwritten ones. Before going into my big round of interviews I honestly didn’t even think about thank yous. My mentor came in clutch again and told me that a handwritten thank you goes a long way. It’s really true! Thank yous are very memorable, especially handwritten thank yous. The night I got home from my big round of interviews, I immediately started writing thank you notes to my interviewers. I wrote to each of them an email thank you and a handwritten thank you. I wrote both because email is more immediate, and I wanted the interviewers to know my gratitude right away. I also wrote handwritten thank you notes because, as my mentor said, they are much more memorable. I think that writing both forms of thank you notes helped me become a more memorable candidate and eventually helped me land the job.
The interview process of job hunting is far from easy. It’s nervewracking, scary, and sometimes complicated. Though there aren’t specific rules to follow during an interview, these tips are definitely helpful. They help you become a more confident, more memorable candidate, which will ultimately help you stand out compared to the rest of the candidates. So, take my advice and also remember to practice interviewing. With the right confidence and courage, you can ace your interview too!
Good luck, my Dolls!
In addition to my mentor, Adam was here throughout the entire job-hunting process to support me. His support is one reason why he proves to be an amazing boyfriend. Read some of the other characteristics you should look to find in a significant other in “Find Someone Who...”