Face-to-face interviews can be intimidating, daunting and generally a little nerve-racking. Here are 8 tips on how to nail the in-person interview that will help leave interviewers impressed and wanting to hire you:
1. Be nice to the assistants and receptionists.
According to jobspro, 90% of employers seek their assistant’s opinion when interviewing and making hiring decisions. This is true across the board—be polite and engaging to anyone you meet in your desired company regardless of their position. A smile, pleasant greeting and a personal goodbye can go a long way.
2. Don’t fidget in the interview.
Too many job applicants get nervous and rearrange their tie, touch their face and run their hands through their hair. Be composed and place your hands on your lap. Composure is a quality that any company looks for in qualified job applicants. Take deep breaths, relax and project good body language at all times throughout the interview.
3. Come prepared to ask at least ten questions.
If you have no questions for the company at the end of your interview, this conveys that you aren’t concerned with learning more about the company and didn’t do your homework prior to the interview. During the interview, be sure to ask them questions based on topics relevant to the conversation; this demonstrates to the recruiter that you are actively engaged and interested in the conversation.
4. Match the communication style of the interviewer.
Every interviewer has his/her own style and methods of conducting an interview. Some are more intimidating, while others are more genial and make it more of a two-way conversation. Make eye contact with the interviewer as often as he/she does with you and pace yourself according to his/her intonations, inflections and pace of the conversation. This demonstrates that you are a respectful and socially perceptive candidate.
5. Survey your interviewer’s office.
If you happen to be in an interviewer’s office, take a look around and if something catches your eye. Perhaps you share a common interest or have unique information about something you notice–if so, comment on it when appropriate. If your interviewer has a diploma on the wall from the University of Arizona and your sister currently attends that school, this could be a great conversation-starter and an easy way to build rapport.
6. Don’t sit down until the interviewer takes a seat.
This demonstrates to the recruiter that you are respectful and understand etiquette—both qualities that are key traits when making hiring decisions.
7. Quantify and qualify your experiences whenever possible.
This piece of advice must be applied across the board in all aspects of your personal brand, including your cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile. Recruiters look for candidates who are goal and results-oriented. If you can demonstrate to employers concisely the results you produced in your past experiences, this will be much more convincing than some long-winded, non-specific response.
8. Don’t misrepresent yourself.
If an employer asks you if you are proficient in Microsoft Excel and you aren’t, be honest in your response. It’s best to be honest about your skill-set than dishonest, especially if the follow-up question, is, “do you know how to construct pivot tables?” If you answered yes to the first question and you aren’t proficient with them, then you look pretty foolish after the follow-up question.
An interview is often a complicated and brief interaction between two (or more) individuals who need to understand each other in a limited amount of time. Differentiate yourself from other applicants by doing the little things in the interview while providing hiring managers with more reasons to hire you.
Jim Armstrong is a recent graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He now works for New York City-based advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather as an assistant search planner.