Tuesday Ten: Tips for Mastering an Interview

MPR5o8W22zdjGwdd2dDHApwO.jpeg:Amazon:photo

Picture this: You’re graduating college soon and you’re nervous about upcoming job interviews. You’re about to be thrown out into the big, bad “real” world, and you just aren’t sure what to expect…

This transitional period of life is one that everyone goes through. And the best way to tackle it is by being prepared for any job interviews that may come your way. Lucky for you, today I’m recapping my favorite interview etiquette tips that will help you nail the job of your dreams. This is a topic I’ve covered before (read about it here!), but it’s definitely one worth brushing up on. Whether you’re about to land your first job or you’re just looking to refine your business professional skills, check out these 10 tips for mastering an interview…

  1. Research the company.
    If you are really serious about the position you are interviewing for, researching the company is a must. Nothing looks worse than a prospective employee who doesn’t know the background facts. Do your homework by reading up on the company’s history and mission statement, and keep a running list of questions you’d like to ask your interviewer as you go.
  2. Update your resume.
    Double check that your resume is up to date, and make sure it looks clean and tidy. I recommend printing at least three copies on linen resume paper. Using thick, expensive paper will leave a lasting impression on the company, and it will make your resume feel important.
  3. Dress the part.
    Research the company before your interview to help you decide what to wear. If you read my style guide on the perfect interview outfit, you might remember that artistic companies are more casual while buttoned-up businesses (banks, etc.) tend to be more formal. However, no matter how casual you may think the company is, always err on the on the side of dressing professional. Think about it this way: You should always dress for the position you aspire to have one day—not just the position you’re interviewing for.
  4. Arrive on time.
    Ladies, this one is a no brainer… Always arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled time of your interview. Don’t show up too early (you might look over-eager) but definitely do not walk into your interview late. Showing up last minute will come off as unorganized and disrespectful.
  5. Give a solid, confident handshake.
    A firm handshake shows that you are self-assured and it will make a lasting impression. I think it’s safe to say that every business professional will tell you that a solid handshake is a sign of confidence.
  6. Make eye contact.
    From the moment you walk through the door, keep eye contact and smile whenever you meet someone. Eye contact is a major factor that companies look for in a potential employee. And be sure to be polite and energetic, even to the receptionist or an assistant. You want to make a great impression and you never know who might put in a good word!
  7. Prepare your questions and answers.
    Don’t get tongue tied when a tough question comes up. Make sure you are prepared to answer the following questions:
    •    “Tell me about yourself.
    •    “How has your experience prepared you for this job?
    •    “What is your greatest weakness? (Tip: Whatever your weakness is, always present it as something that
    you are “working on.” For example, “I’m working on talking less when I am nervous.”)
    •    “Why do you want this job?
    Similarly, when the interview is about to end, your interviewer you will probably ask if you have any questions for them. This is an important step of the process. Asking a few pointed questions lets the interviewer know that you are curious and eager about the position. Here are a few examples of questions to ask:
    •    “Why is this position open?
    •    “Is there an opportunity for growth with this position? If so, where does it lead?
    •    “What was your career path to this job?
  8. Maintain good posture.
    Definitely, definitely do not slump when you’re in an interview. Your posture will reflect your enthusiasm for the position. Sitting up straight is a subtle yet influential way to make a positive impact during an interview. Click here to read up on my 5 tips for improving your posture.
  9. Ask about the next step.
    When the interview is about to come to a close, ask about the next steps of the process. Let your interviewer know you are very interested in the position, and ask them about the appropriate time for you to follow up. You can also ask about when they are thinking about making a decision. This will give you a timeline for when to follow up.
  10. Write a handwritten thank you note.
    The minute you get home from the interview, write a handwritten thank you note and send it out in the mail that day. An old-fashioned thank you note will show the company that you are polite and professional, and it will keep you on their radar.

These 10 interview tips should have you feeling confident enough to land your dream job! And if you’re still searching for more interview advice, check out my posts below:
Ladylike Laws: Interview Etiquette
Style Guide: The Perfect Interview Outfit
9 to 5 Chic: 10 Style Tricks That Show You Mean Business

Do you have any etiquette tips for making a good first impression?

Help your fellow LC.com members out and leave your tips and tricks below.

XO Lauren

Photo: Elin Kling for Woman Magazine
Categories: Grow
Share This
  • Monica_in_Heels
  • Ashley

    Those are all great tips, but there is one more I’d like to add. Make sure you give the company reasons to hire you, for instance, find things in their company that you could improve upon and then tell them how you specifically could fix them. :) http://dreamliveandrepeat.blogspot.com/

  • Classof1 Help

    Those are really wonderful tips for both people starting with their job interviews and for experienced candidates. I loved that personal touch with handwritten thank you note. Overall these tips could possibly turn the decision of the employer even if we had slight slip during the interview.
    http://classof1.com/

  • Valeria Alvarez

    Nice tips for the ones looking for their first job! also there are some good ones for the ones allready working if we ever need to change jobs.

    Kisses
    <3 Val
    http://www.beautyval13.blogspot.com

  • Kellie Norton

    I love these tips!! I found that the more internships I had and the more experience I got, the better I was at answering questions on job interviews. I got familiar with my industry, which made it SO much easier to shine in interviews… which eventually helped me land the job I’m at now :-)

    -Kellie

    kellieandthecity.tumblr.com

  • Marie Fournier

    I love these tips. I always nervous before a interview! I’ll definitely doing this tips, next time. Thank you very much!
    http://whatwearwith.blogspot.ca/

  • Ashley Rizzardo

    These are great tips!

    http://allthatglitters.co.nr

  • Rachel Trampel

    These are all such great tips! Interviewing can be such a scary/stressful thing to do, so it is always nice to get more tips :)

    http://www.rachelslookbook.com

  • Robyn {The Chic Image}

    Fantastic tips!!!

    Robyn xox
    http://thechicimage.blogspot.com

  • Mary – The Classy Cubicle

    Fantastic tips! I especially think dressing the part and sending a thank you note are two critical pieces of advice that people often overlook. Dressing the part is incredibly important, especially since your interviewers will likely not have a lot of time to really get to know you — so you don’t want a sloppy appearance to undermine your capabilities and credibility. As for the thank you note, this is actually one of the main reasons that I got my current job over other applicants! My interviewers told me months after I’d started the job that it had been down to me and three other highly qualified applicants, but because I promptly wrote a really thoughtful thank you note, I got the nod.

    Amazing advice!!

    xxoo,
    Mary
    http://www.theclassycubicle.com

  • Claire Elizabeth

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I just graduated college and am in the midst of several important interviews and really appreciated this advice! I love your career posts, so thanks! :)

  • My Style Diary
  • LaurenConrad.com

    The thank you note is a must :) Congrats on landing your current job!

  • LaurenConrad.com

    You’re welcome! XO

  • LaurenConrad.com

    So glad you liked them!

  • megan magers

    these tips are perfect and came just in time! I have an interview tomorrow and feel more prepared now that ive read this article, thank you! the thank you note is a terrific touch i never considered before, what with technology these days hand-written anything is a lost art and thus im sure it would make an applicant stand out xo

    http://myotherclosetiscouture.blogspot.com

  • PurpleFlamingo

    Great tips!

    purple–flamingo.blogspot.com

  • Erin E.

    Be sure to eat before an interview. You don’t want to be hungry or have your stomach growl! Also, if interviewing for a conservative professional position, wear a suit with pantyhose. It is better to be told to dress more casually after being hired than to not dress professionally in the interview.

  • Melissa mould

    great post, i recently started at a new company and am really pleased I got the job. All the tips above are spot on and so important

    Mel x
    UK Blogger
    http://www.mediamarmalade.com

  • Albert Peter
  • Alyssa

    These are some great tips! I’m graduating college in a few weeks so I can really relate, and I’m super nervous about interviews!

    Thanks for sharing :)

    <3 Alyssa
    http://www.alyssamarierose.com

  • Leanne

    There’s nothing as important as being able to give a good interview. You may have the most impressive CV but unless your interview skills are good, it will all be for nothing. Great tips girls.

    Love from South Africa

    http://arumlilea.blogspot.com

  • Deanne Castro

    These are great tips!

    For more on fashion and beauty, please check out my blog: http://myfashavenue.com/

    Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/myfashavenue and Pinterest http://pinterest.com/MyFashAvenue/

    xo
    Deanne

  • hooleywithaz

    i agree so much. nothing worse than trying to camouflage stomach growls while being poised and well-spoken.

  • Daron37Daron James

    Nice article Lauren!!

    Job Interviews alway make me scared. I once had the “”personal struggle”” question and I completely blanked out. I’ve gotten better at it, the key is preparation! Look at yourself in the mirror and practise!

    Btw, I recently got a book as a present, called The Charisma Myth. Apparently the author coaches the president as well or something, not really sure. But it was really good. It’s about 10bucks I think.

    Hang on, here’s a link: http://amzn.to/13rmj6Z

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