You have your resume & cover letter, you reached out to people, and you now finally have an interview scheduled. And this interview is the last hurdle between you and your very first job. So, what should you do to ensure that your interview is successful? Here are a few tips.
On the day of the interview
If you’ve been following this series, you now have the content you need for your interview. Now, you just need to make sure you feel confident and look put together. Here are some tips for that.
Have your outfit ready
Unless you’re giving a phone interview, you need to be mindful of your physical appearance. If you’re not sure what to wear, ask someone at the company (if you know someone) or take a look at their social media. Your aim here should be to try and dress like their employees. So for instance, if you know that the company has a casual environment, you should opt for a business casual outfit.
Look your best
Choosing the outfit isn’t the only thing you need to do. Also make sure that your outfit is steamed, cleaned, and tailored. Look for loose hems, polish your shoes, and trim your nails to make sure they look neat. When you look your best, you won’t just give off a good impression; you’ll also feel confident, and confidence is the key to landing a job.
Have multiple copies of your CV
This tip especially applies if you have an in=person interview. Make sure you have enough copies for everyone you’re going to meet and one for yourself (for reference). Even if you have a video or phone interview, it’s good practice to have a resume that you can refer to.
Have a reference list
Even if you don’t think you’ll need a reference list, it’s better to have one ready at hand. For all the references that you list, make sure you add the name, title, department and the organization, email address, number, and your relationship with the person. For an in-person interview, you should take a physical copy of the list.
Test your equipment
If you have a phone or video interview, make sure you check the network connections and the hardware and software ahead of time. If possible, use headphones and make sure they’re connected even before the interview starts.
When doing remote interviews, your environment is also important so make sure you sit in a quiet place where there or no distractions and everything that you might need as a reference during the interview should be present right in front of you along with water (or whatever beverage you prefer), a pen and a notepad. In case of video interviews, you also need to be mindful of the things going on behind you so make sure you sit in front of a non-distracting (preferably plain) background. Your frame should be well-lit and free of clutter.
Make sure you have everything
In case of an in-person interview, make sure you pack your things beforehand. The briefcase, purse, backpack you plan on taking along should be big enough to hold your essentials along with interview must-haves like a notepad and extra copies of your resume.
Also make sure that you don’t have extra things in there. If you have to dig past things like old receipts and phone chargers to retrieve your resume, you’re going to appear as a disorganized individual.
Make travel arrangements
Figure out whether you’re going to drive to the office or use public transportation. In both cases, make sure you see the route beforehand and if you’re driving, make sure you know where you can park. Fill up your tank and take care of all transport-related problems that could slow you down on your way to the office (like a flat tire). Know the time it’ll take to reach your location and leave plenty of extra time to spare in case you get stuck in traffic or experience transit delays.
Mentally prepare yourself
Right before the interview, make sure you get into the right headspace. Of course, you’re most likely going to be nervous, which is why it’s better to be ready ahead of time. Different people tackle nervousness in different ways so make sure you know what works for you and have that in easy reach (like a friend who can calm you down). Remember, you want to go into the interview positive, calm, and confident so that you ace it!