The new year is fast approaching and with it comes the opportunity for a fresh start in your professional life.
Employers and job seekers alike will typically slow down toward the end of the year. The holidays are not the best time to start a new job as employers are rushing to meet deadlines by the year’s end and employees are taking time off right, left and center.
Which makes it a perfect time to work on your interview etiquette. Preparation is key here to improve your chances of getting hired. From your answers to your outfit and your mental mindset.
Read the following top 5 ways to improve your interview and leave a great impression.
Interview Tip #1 | Prepare Your Answers
Research the top questions asked in an interview and write your answers down. Read over the questions and answers until they are memorized and sound fluid.
This is a great way to prepare for those unexpected or unusual questions. Often times, the interviewer wants to you to describe a specific situation you have encountered in the past. That can be hard when you are in the hot seat.
Having a readily available answer in your head is a great way to put your nerves at ease and impress your interviewers at the same time.
Interview Tip #2 | Choose Your Outfit
Just like your mother used to do before a school day, look out your interview outfit in advance. Remember, clothing is an extension of yourself and absolutely matters in an interview. A knee length skirt or dress, or a nice pair of slacks paired with blouse and blazer is appropriate.
Depending on the position, a professional suit may be warranted. You can also pull out all of the stops and wear one even if the position doesn’t require it.
Do not forget the shoes too. Closed toed shoes are more professional and whether you choose heels or flats, your trousers should never touch the ground. Leave enough time for yourself to visit a tailor, if need be.
Lastly, check the weather as well. Is it forecast to rain? If so, bring an umbrella just in case. You can not be too prepared.
Interview Tip #3 | Plan Your Day
Map out your route for getting there a few days beforehand. Pay attention to the time of day of the interview and the time of day you are searching the directions.
There is often a significant time difference between travelling at 11am in the morning to travelling at 4pm in the afternoon. The GPS directions and time estimation will change depending on the time of day you search as it is in real time and can track traffic patterns.
Give yourself enough time to get there, find parking and find the office or contact person. We like to buffer with about 15 minutes. Arriving early is perfectly acceptable. Arriving late is not.
Interview Tip #4 | Write Thank You Note
If you have the advantage of knowing the name of the person you are interviewing with beforehand, write out a thank you note ahead of time and pop it in the mail when you get back home.
If you aren’t sure who you are meeting or there is a chance that the person could be substituted, look out a thank you card and have it ready to fill out when you get home.
Also follow up on the professional online network, LinkedIn. Use the search function to find your interviewers and send them connect request with a message thanking them for their time.
These personal touches will wrap up your professional interaction with them very nicely.
Interested in improving your LinkedIn profile? Click here.
Interview Tip #5 | Update Résumé and Cover Letter
Lastly, your résumé and cover letter define you as a professional. Make sure they are exceptional and you have a copy of each to bring with you to the interview.
Do they include everything they need to? Cross check your résumé and cover letter with our tips on each here:
Cover Letter: Cover Letter Tips: 4 Things You Need to Include
Bonus: Interview Tip #6 | Prepare Questions
Okay, we snuck this one in here. It is too important to miss and 5 tips sounds better than 6 tips. So, here is a bonus for you!
In every interview you can almost guarantee that you will be asked if you have any questions. Along with—”tell me about yourself”—it is probably the most asked question in an interview.
Bring a notebook with you and have a couple of questions prepared to ask. If the questions happen to be answered during the interview, say that! The simple act of having questions prepared shows that you are interested in the position enough to care about it before you even have it.
Questions show intrigue and they want you to be intrigued!
We recognize that the grass isn’t always greener. If there is an opportunity for growth and professional development in your current profession, stay… and ask for a raise!
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too. Read our 7 Tips to Help You Ask for a Raise with Confidence before you go in.