By Kristen Harris
This is it! Showtime. Your interview is scheduled, you’ve taken the time to prepare, and are confidently walking in the door, ready to go. Now it’s time to show them what you’ve got.
If you haven’t quite prepared for the interview yet, check out part one of this series— You’re Hired: Five Tips to Prepare for a Great Interview.
Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes for a moment. For one reason or another, there’s an open role on their team. They have a problem, and think you might be the solution. Actually they hope you are, because they need to get on to the work, not just keep interviewing candidates. When you walk in the door or pick up the phone, that other person wants it to go just as well as you do.
By focusing on key parts of a successful interview, you’ll give yourself a better chance of being “the one.”
You’ve planned ahead and arrived on time. Take a deep breath, smile, and enter the building with confidence. Greet the person at the front desk and politely ask for the contact you’re meeting. When your interviewer comes to greet you, exude confidence – stand up, make eye contact, smile, and offer a handshake.
Make it a Conversation.
Once the interview starts, think of it as a conversation, not an interrogation. Speak clearly and confidently. Don’t blurt things out; take a few seconds to consider your answer. Explain yourself, but don’t talk too much, ramble, or go on tangents. Answer their questions, focusing on the areas you think are important to the hiring manager. If you’re not sure what’s most important, ask...it’s a conversation.
Talk Less, Listen More.
Answer questions and participate in the conversation, but also listen to what they are saying. The interviewer will give you hints as to what they want, or come right out and tell you. They came in hoping you’re a good fit, listen to what they’re saying so you can show them that you are.
Watch Your Body Language.
Sit up straight, make eye contact, don’t fidget. Don’t fold your arms, it can come across as defensive or insecure; take up space and show confidence. Pay attention to what they’re doing and follow suit. Mirroring is a psychological technique to help connect with others.
Participate and Gauge Their Interest.
Make eye contact, nod your head, take a few notes–do the normal things that demonstrate you’re listening and participating in the conversation. Watch for signs they’re engaged, like leaning in or taking notes. If you see signs they’re losing interest, like fidgeting or checking the clock, ask a question or let them ask more questions to get the conversation back on track.
Turn Off Your Phone.
This gets it’s own section because it is SO important. Having your phone ring during an interview is distracting, interruptive, and just plain rude. If you forget and it rings, don’t answer! Apologize, silence the call, and turn off the ringer. Everything else can wait, there is nothing more important right now than this interview.
Wrap It Up.
Near the end of the interview they’ll probably ask if you have any questions. If they don’t ask, about ten minutes before the scheduled conclusion let them know that you have a few questions. Prioritize in case you run short of time, the interviewer will indicate when the interview is over. Thank them for their time and consideration. If they haven’t already told you, ask when they’ll be making a decision or what the next steps will be. Part with a good handshake, a friendly smile, and “I look forward to hearing from you”.
Walk out confidently, knowing that you’ve presented your best self. Now it’s time to send a thoughtful thank you note, and wait patiently for more information or the next step.