1. Have a solid resume and cover letter
There could be fifty people undergoing the same interview you are. So how do you increase your chances? Right off the bat, you should create a strong resume and cover letter. Make sure to put unique things in there that will help you stand out to the interviewer. Why should they hire you? What makes you so special, versus the forty-nine other applicants.
2. Dress the part
Professional and appropriate should describe the outfit of the day. Men should wear a comfortable, darker toned suit that fits well. Women should wear dresses or skirts. Dress pants are acceptable; however, studies show women appear more professional in dresses/skirts because it encourages better posture and a higher level of professionalism. Keep colors more neutral and make sure the clothing is pressed and cleaned. Avoid wearing scents (can be a negative), brush your teeth, keep makeup natural, and make sure hair is neat and clean. Wear minimum jewelry. Overall, dress conservatively and simple.
3. Make good impressions before you walk in the door
You may not realize it, but when attending an interview, it begins before you even walk in the doors. Remember the secretary that greeted you as soon as you walked in the door? Well, they are the gatekeeper. The impression you give them is an important factor in whether or not you get the job. Often, after you conclude an interview, the interviewer will approach the “gatekeeper” and ask their impression of you.
4. Be calm and be ready
Naturally, nerves come with interviews. This goes for interviewers and the interviewees. It helps if there is light casual conversation before and during the interview. Let the interviewer see some of your personality. This will create a more relaxed environment for both parties, just remember to keep all conversation professional. Oh, and don’t forget to smile. Body language serves as a strong attitude indicator. Sit up straight with feet planted. Show interest and engagement with eye contact and avoid fidgeting.
Before the interview, study the interviewer. Check out their LinkedIn profile. This can help enact the casual conversation. Also research the company you are applying for. Find a fact that the general public may not know and work it into conversation. This shows the interviewer you’ve done your research, and you want to work for this company.
5. Send a thank you note
Sending a “thank you for the interview” note is an impactful message after an interview. It can be emailed, but can mean more in a physical form via snail mail. Don’t forget to leave one to the secretary that greeted you when you first walked in! After all, they are likely to be approached about their first impression of you when you walked in, and when you walked out!