Did you know that you can win or lose your new job interview within the first five minutes?
First impressions count, and non-verbal cues matter even more than verbal ones. So in those first few minutes, it’s all about smiling confidently, shaking hands firmly, making eye contact and generally looking as if you’re glad to be there and you want the job. Lean in slightly, widen your eyebrows slightly, and wait to be invited to sit down. In everything you do, project an attitude of energy, enthusiasm and interest.
Once you make it through the door of the office and pass the initial 5 minutes, then these tips should be helpful:
- Start by researching the company and the interviewer. Go to their website and take note of their accomplishments, clients, and principals.
- Prepare smart questions for your interviewers. This is where exploring their website will be most helpful. Getting your interviewers engaged is always a challenge, so do your research and take notes. Jot down your questions and take them with you, along with something for note-taking.
- Rehearse your answers to common interviews questions in front of a mirror. Know what why of gestures you’re comfortable with and which ones have to be discarded.
- Be prepared with examples of your work. Show n’ tell is always impressive, so make sure to have some strategic examples on hand.
- Plan your attire the night before. If possible, ask ahead of time what the office attire is; business casual or buttoned up.
- Arrive 15 minutes early. This is a no-brainer. Better to be early than late. President Obama was late for his first interview with a law firm and his wife Michelle, who was interviewing him talks about it to this day as a negative factor. Guess it’s not a great example since he ended up with the job and a wife.
- Win them over with authenticity and Don’t speak negatively about previous bosses or companies with which you’ve worked.
- Tie your answers back to your skills and experience.
- Make everything you say memorable.
- Think before you speak, and only speak the truth.
- Don’t keep your answers short and sweet! After all, the interviewer came to be impressed and informed by you. Show your stuff and your knowledge—and let the interviewer see how articulate and spontaneous you can be.
- Ask about next steps. Don’t be shy. If you want the job, ask for it. Show them you are interested and motivated and have initiative.
- Send a personalized thank you letter or email after the interview.
- Don’t follow-up with a phone call. Quite frankly. If they’re interested they’ll contact you. That’s just the fact of life.