Five Tips to Nail an Interview-- Because Trust Me, I've Been There
August 21, 2015
Between graduating from college and landing my dream role at Norbella, I sent out a ton of resumes and went on a LOT of interviews. The process can be nerve racking and at times overwhelming, but don’t stress! After going through this grueling process myself, I’ve come up with five simple tips to help you prep for and nail that interview:
Practice Makes Perfect:
Don’t pass up an opportunity to put your interview skills into play, by blowing off a company that you do not think is the right fit. Use these situations as chances to gain insight on how different companies go through the hiring process, and to build strong communication skills. That being said, it is important that you do not lead companies on once you know for sure that a position isn’t suited for you. Take on as many phone screenings that come your way, but be pickier when it comes to face-to-face interviews. Your time is just as valuable as the hiring manager’s – instead of trekking to every onsite interview, say yes to about two or three that you plan on using as practice. Who knows, you could on go on a practice interview and end up falling in love with the company!
This somewhat cheesy advice can be found on just about every job interview blog out there, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked – confidence really is key! When you land an interview, know that it is because a company is genuinely interested in your knowledge and skill set. A resume can get your foot through the door, but your confidence and positive personality can be the determining factor in whether or not you’re brought on board. Hiring managers aren’t set out to scare you, they’ve called you in because they think that you can help them successfully fill a position that will ultimately benefit the company.
Network, Network, Network:
Take advantage of your alma mater! From Pre-K to Grad school, you never know where your former classmates and peers will end up. Stay updated with your connections by creating a LinkedIn– and don’t be afraid to connect with former bosses, coworkers, someone you haven’t talked to since Kindergarten (just kidding!), but you get the point –LinkedIn can help you land that job. It is also a great tool to reach out to successful alumni and introduce yourself. If there is an alum who works in the industry that you are trying to break in to, send him or her a message on LinkedIn. People love to talk about themselves and are flattered when fellow alumni reach out for advice. As you build new connections, keep in mind that not everybody holds the keys to your career; keep things light by asking for career advice over coffee– do NOT flat out ask for a job at their company! I cannot stress how valuable LinkedIn is, because sometimes all it takes is having that one person on the inside rooting for you.
“No” Does Not Close Doors–It Gives You a Reason to Open More:
Steve Jobs was once fired from Apple; it is almost inevitable that you will hear the word “no” as you go through the interview process. Instead of getting discouraged, think of all the ‘no’s’ you hear as stepping stones leading you to your ultimate career destination. When a company (regretfully) informs you that you are not the best fit for a position, simply ask them: “why?” and “what can I do to strengthen my eligibility?” Instead of burning a bridge, you are opening up a channel of communication. Somewhere down the road the same company that said “no” may have a position better suited for your skills, and will think of you. It is also the perfect opportunity to find out how you can prepare for your next interview for a similar position or within the industry.
One Outfit Does Not Fit All Interviews:
Do not wear the same business professional outfit to every interview you go on. In this day-and-age, office culture varies from company to company. You don’t want to show up to a startup interview dressed to the business professional nines, when all of the employees wear t-shirts and flip-flops on a daily basis. Ask the hiring manager what people usually wear to the office or do some professional stalking on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to get a feel for the office culture. When you have a general understanding of what other employees are wearing, pick an outfit that is one step above. Make sure you are well groomed, and don’t forget to pack a tin of mints –nobody’s got time for that coffee breath!