How to Nail Your Next Interview: Advice from the Experts
May 4, 2018 • by Cara Schwertly
My Resume Has Been Selected! Now What?
You’ve perfected your resume, spent a seemingly endless amount of time filling out applications, and you get the coveted call for an interview. Feeling like you’re halfway to the job? Don’t count those chickens before they’re hatched. While everyone would agree that getting your resume moved over to the stack of preferred applicants is a big hurdle, the interview process is where hiring managers are looking for all the reasons why they shouldn’t hire you. Yes, you read that right. So, while polishing up your elevator pitch is good advice, let’s look at some of the things that hiring managers are silently picking apart while you gush about your achievements.
There’s a statistic out there that says 33% of hiring managers know within the first 90 seconds of an interview if they’ll hire you. That’s a minute and half that will either make or break your chances with 1/3 of interviewers. What can you possibly do or say in such a short time to seal your fate? It’s simpler than you think.
- Walk in and shake the interviewer’s hand with confidence. A warm smile and a handshake will immediately put the room at ease and make you appear more approachable. In a study conducted by the University of Iowa, research shows that having a firmer handshake helps improve the perception of interviewers. So, even if you’re typically a little shier, put any nerves aside and get ready to do the old grip and grin.
- Stop looking at your hands and make eye contact. 67% of hiring managers have said that failure to make eye contact is a common interviewee mistake. Some of us don’t even realize that we’re looking everywhere else but at the person who is talking to us. So, this is one to brush up on before stepping into the building of a potential job opportunity. Eye contact is one of the most powerful, nonverbal ways to communicate interest in the interviewer as well as in the job itself. No one wants to hire someone who looks like they’d rather be anywhere other than in that interview.
- Dress to impress. Ditch the weekend clothes and roll into that interview looking put together. Even for casual positions, candidates that take extra care to dress professionally make a lasting impression on hiring managers. It doesn’t matter that this new and exciting career path is in an environment that allows for jeans and sneakers. In an interview, clothing communicates how seriously you take the interview as well as how well you understand general business attire and etiquette. While you’re putting the finishing touches on your interview look, remember to keep the trendy threads at home. Studies show that 70% of interviewers look negatively on dressing too fashionable or trendy.
- It’s more to do with how you act than what you say. You’ve heard the phrase, “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” That is exactly what you need to remember when in an interview. If you look closed off, uninterested, or overly nervous, you’re communicating far more in your actions than you are with your verbiage. An interviewer expects to hear why each candidate thinks they deserve the job. The most convincing candidates have the body language that matches their words. Remember that crossing arms and even legs can allude to a closed off mindset. Slumping and fidgeting can make you appear overly nervous or disinterested. So, sit up straight, smile and keep a close watch on falling into nervous habits.
Do You Really Want the Job?
A surprising trend in candidates is a lack of preparedness and investment in an interview. Studies have shown that nearly half of all job seekers have little to no knowledge about the company where they are interviewing. If you want an easy way to float to the top of the candidate pool, do a little research about the hiring company and come prepared to talk about how you fit within their organization. Here’s a few reasons why you may want to put this in your pregame of any future interviews:
- It allows you to showcase your genuine interest in your future employer.
- Having relevant information means you can answer interview questions in a more tailored way to the organization.
- You are more prepared and knowledgeable about what the position may look like and how it fits within your strengths and weaknesses.
- You can assess if the potential employer is a good fit for what you’re seeking in a new position.
Another way to easily communicate that you do, in fact, want that job, is to ask for it. Hiring managers want to know that you are enthusiastic about both working for their organization and filling the open role. Most interviewees will not actually ask for the job and risk losing the position to someone who seemed more eager. An effective close to an interview is to let the hiring manager know how much you would love to be considered for the role and the excitement you feel about the possibility of working for their organization. Follow that up with a hand written thank you note, and you may just seal the deal.
Sources for data and additional resources for job seekers:
“How Interviewers Know When to Hire You in 90 Seconds” Classes and Careers. https://visual.ly/community/infographic/business/what-you-wish-youd-known-your-job-interview
“Why You Can’t Get A Job…Recruiting Explained by the Numbers” https://www.ere.net/why-you-cant-get-a-job-recruiting-explained-by-the-numbers/
“Handshakes and Job Interviews: Study Shows it is Especially Helpful for Women” http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/handshakes-and-job-interviewsstudy-shows-it-is-especially-helpful-for-women.html