How to Have Your Best Interview Ever

It feels terrible to walk out of an interview, knowing you did not do your best.

And that you probably would not get the job.

If you could press the reset button on it, you would. But there is no reset button. When it comes to interviewing, you typically get one shot to gain the interest of the interviewee.

So if you have a big interview coming up, or if you are searching for the opportunity to interview, let me provide you with a few tips to have you best interview ever.

  1. Start with prayer. Give over every part of the job search and upcoming interview to God.
  1. Put together a good resume. It’s obvious that to acquire an interview you typically need a well-crafted resume. But your resume doesn’t just get you an interview. It begins the first impression you create for your interviewer, before you even meet him or her.
  1. Audit your social media accounts. Speaking of pre-meeting first impressions, check out your social media accounts. Whether they tell you about it our not, interviewers will probably peruse your social media accounts. You can do a lot of damage to your hiring prospects by having inappropriate pictures or comments on your feeds.
  1. Research the organization. Get to know the organization for which you desire to work. This is pretty simple today. Just look through their website. Learn about their mission and their leadership.
  1. If possible, research the interviewer. Learn about him or her. This will help you mentally prepare for the interview and, maybe, calm a few nerves. Now, I must provide a caution here—don’t talk like someone who has stalked the interviewer. Asking them how their kids are enjoying college or how they liked their recent vacation to Puerto Rico will scare them. And rightfully so.
  1. Know who you are. Often, an interviewer will ask you to tell them about yourself. Don’t respond with, “Well, what do you want to know?” Have a really good two to three minute answer prepared.
  1. Know your numbers. Know what you have achieved and the numbers that demonstrate the accomplishments. Specifics impress. Vague generalizations don’t.
  1. Wear slightly dressier attire than everyone else. As you research the company, take note of what most people in the organization wear. Wearing slightly dressier attire than what you see will communicate respect for the interviewer and the organization.
  1. Arrive early, but not too early. I recommend ten to fifteen minutes early. If you arrive thirty or more minutes early, just drive around some more or wait in your car. It will be awkward for the interviewer to have someone waiting outside their office for thirty minutes.
  1. Give a good handshake. Not to weak and not to strong.
  1. Give thoughtful answers. Avoid responding with a simple “yes” or “no.” Elaborate.
  1. Use your interviewer’s name. People love to hear their own name. Start off formal. Initially address them as Dr., Mr., or Mrs. “Last Name.” If they ask you to call them by another name, do it. Make it a goal to say the interviewer’s name at least twice during the interview and once as you are leaving.
  1. Avoid negative talk. Even if you had a bad experience with you past employer. More than likely, the interviewer knows someone in the organization that is consistently negative about their employment. You don’t want the interviewer to put you in the same category as “that guy.”
  1. Don’t initiate salary talk. The first interview is usually not the most appropriate time to ask about compensation. It will make you come across as one who primarily cares about the money, not the mission of the organization. Let them bring up the salary discussion.
  1. Ask really good questions. At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. Don’t say no. Have a few really good questions ready to go.
  1. Write a handwritten thank you note. Don’t thank them via email. You have a great opportunity to stand out with a handwritten thank you note. Take advantage of the opportunity.

I hope these tips help. Give yourself the best shot possible at landing the job. Prepare well so that you can walk out of the interview feeling like you had your best interview ever.

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