Without a doubt, interviewing is a process a majority of us dread.
There is no other time in your career when you question yourself more as a person. As disheartening as this sounds, an interview tends to have this effect on the best of us.
There are certain tactics you can employ to make the process as pain free as possible. Inevitably, most of us just want to stand out from the crowd and make some sort of impression on the potential employer. Whether this means a call back, a second interview or securing the job completely, none of us want to put in the energy physically and mentally to just be forgotten at the end of the interviewer’s day.
Standing out from the crowd includes a lot more than just what you do on the interview day itself. Making an unforgettable impression requires a great deal of prep beforehand.
What to Wear & How to Wear it
In this case, to make that all important first impression count, looks matter unfortunately. You must show you care, rather than just say it.
To choose the all-important first interview outfit, you’ll need to get a feel for the company. Have a quick scroll through their website and social media presence to see how the company present themselves aesthetically. Yes, you can take a safe approach and opt for a universally formal and conservative outfit. But this won’t necessarily work for each and every company. Creative companies for example may be on the look-out for a specific personality type, someone who embodies creativity, rather than a more conservative personality.
The general consensus to make a bit of an impression, according to chief officer of recruitment and development at K&L Gates LLP, Susan V. Fried has said to “try adding a memorable accessory to your outfit”.
Keep to Time
There is nothing worse than running late on your first ever interview with a prospective employer. There is nothing that an apologetic text or call can do to help this situation. Do a test run if you need to. Trial the journey at that time your interview it is to gage any obstacles you may face on you potential new commute, to leave the appropriate amount of time to get to your interview on time.
Give yourself at least 10 minutes to freshen up when you get there. You never want to look flushed or out of breath when you start your interview.
A simple expression of confidence in your body language can make all the difference to make a great initial and lasting impression. Eye contact is key, and shows experience and poise right from the outset. A firm handshake oozes self-assurance too, so don’t forget to initiate one before and after your interview, even if your interviewer doesn’t.
And you don’t need me to tell you that every moment of that first interview matters. An employer will find every reason to not hire you, rather than the other way round. As much as that sucks, it’s the reality. So try and use every moment to show you will be an asset to a company. Even that short walk from the office’s reception or lobby to the interview room could be your chance to shine. Dazzle your interviewer with your smooth small talk. Just a simple line to get the ball rolling will do. A humble “Thanks for making time to meet me today” or a remark about how unique that part of town is or the aesthetic of the building will show you have no issue with striking up conversation under pressure.
Don’t forget there is a fine line with impressing a future employer, and coming on too strong and sycophantic. No one wants to hire someone who has learnt everything they know from a ‘How-to’ book. Try and let as much as your real personality shine through, while remaining poised, polite and professional.
Watch Your Interviewer
As straight forward as this one sounds, it really works. Mirroring your interviewer/s’ movements shows that you are on the same page, and you are in a similar headspace. If they are sitting more causally, then you can take some of the edge off, and cross your legs in a similar way, etc. Don’t mirror their every move because that’d be borderline creepy, but mirroring their attitude a little bit can create a comfortable space for a conversation.
Don’t be Afraid to be Inquisitive
Asking to clarify anything you are unsure of isn’t a sign of weakness-if anything it is the opposite. At the end of your interview, being active in the interviewing process will show you are a go getter rather than just another forgettable applicant.
Overall it may pay off to think out of the box a little bit. Put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes for a second. They will probably meet at least ten people who are suitable for the job, but very few who will make a lasting impression. A slight deviation from the mainstream may just land you your dream job.