1. Dress for success
This is heard often. Dress how you wish to be treated. This may seem a little shallow. Looking nice shouldn’t be a sign that you will be good at a job. But as humans, we rely on image to decide if someone is “worth” pursuing. This is a primal trait that we subconsciously continue. I do not wear skirts or dresses. Some woman feel comfortable doing so and that is great. But I feel my most comfortable in basketball shorts. I obviously can’t show up to a job interview in my workout gear. If you are like me, I suggest black slacks (they make these to fit like denim), a comfortable undershirt, and a button down blouse. If you can’t stand to wear heels, try nice black boots. They fit into the business casual outfit with safer walking.
Long hair? I suggest wearing it down. Make sure to wash it well and dry it. Please don’t show up with a head full of wet hair. It’s a little disturbing. As far as makeup goes, I wear zilch, and have not worn it to a job interview in years. It is not a determining factor in whether you can do a good job or not. But if you feel it is necessary for your personal confidence, go on ahead. Do not cake it on. Be genuine.
2. Have copies of resume and references
Get a portfolio folder to hold extra copies of your resume, cover letter, and references. Also include paper to take notes. You will want to take quick reference notes as the interviewer is explaining the job. This shows initiative and your interest in the position. Make sure your folder is neat and professional. Don’t have a hundred papers falling out of it or get one that has puppies and kittens on the cover. That sounds cute, but save it for a different folder occasion.
3. Handshakes matters
As a woman, I find that men will soften their handshakes as to not “hurt” me. Whether you are a man or woman, keep your handshake firm. Your handshake nonverbally tells the interviewer that you are serious and aware of the opportunities before you. Make sure to give a handshake when meeting someone and again after the interview, thanking them for their time.
4. Know the difference between professional and personal
Arriving at a job interview can be…awkward. You aren’t sure how the person may react to a personal comment. Only mention things like kids, traffic, food…if the interviewer first brings this type of thing up. Otherwise, stay professional. Keep the discussion job focused. Try not to over share any personal details that may turn them off.
5. Good eye contact
Know the right amount of eye contact. Too little can make you look like you have bad communications skills. Communication is key to any job. Employers want their employees to be able to find answers even without them around. Too much eye contact will just make you seem like a weirdo. Sorry, but it’s true. Keep eye contact when they are talking about something very important. Don’t be afraid to look away every once in a while, it’s not rude. Trust me, they don’t want to stare at you any more than you want to stare at them.
6. Have questions prepared
Have at least 3 good questions prepared for the “do you have any questions for me” section of the interview. If the question happens to get answered during the interview, ask for them to go into detail. Here are some good examples for questions to have.
- Can you walk me through an average day of the job?
- What are the chances of moving up in the company?
- How would you say the employees rate their happiness within the company?
7. Using the job description, come up with a time you showed each skill required
Let’s say the job description says you must be able to handle money. You want to set aside a few examples of the times you handled money. This could include that one time you were treasurer in a college club, when you led your cousin’s softball bake sale, or interned as a bank teller. All of these would be great examples. Have your job duties prepared to explain. Do this for every point in the job description. Be prepared to sell yourself.