How to Successfully Navigate the Big Interview

The reason that people have a lot of fear and anxiety before and during an interview is because of what the interview could mean for that person. An interview is an opportunity for a better job or a better life; performing well in this interview could mean a world of difference. The fear of failure causes the anxiety that we all have experienced at one point in time. The opportunity was only obtained through work and effort that has accumulated. Whether that hard work was in college, an entry-level position, or a position that you have had for a while, a lot of time and dedication has landed you an opportunity for a new position or promotion. There is a lot riding on this interview. I want to give you some helpful tips that helped me to get many different offers for companies in a multitude of different industries. My hope is that these helpful tips will help you be successful in landing the job in your chosen field.

When it comes to an interview, there is no such thing as over-prepared. Preparedness helps to drive away anxiety and stress. It is easy to speak with confidence if you truly know what you are speaking about. With the age of technology, it is easy to see what kind of background your interviewer has. Take a look at the individuals LinkedIn profile. With this information, you should be able to relate to the individual that you are meeting with and create meaningful, professional conversation. Also make sure to take a look at the job description as well as individuals who hold that position in the company. If you look at multiple different profiles of people who are in this position, you will start to see trends in experience which the recruiters and interviewers are looking for in you. After looking at the position and profiles, read about the company history as well as people who have changed the industry in which you are entering. For example before my interview with a major transportation company, I looked into some of the challenges that the company had overcome. I had read an article about a government regulation that was mandating Electronic Driver Logs which caused a decrease in revenue for transportation companies. I developed questions based on this knowledge which showed that I was knowledgeable about the industry and showed that I was prepared for the interview. They told me that I was hired before I left the building. Preparedness goes a long way into making an impression on the people with whom you are meeting.

Once you are in the interview, ensure that your attire is appropriate. Dress for the job that you want. It is better to be over dressed than to be under dressed. First impressions take 20 seconds. 5 of those seconds are looking at your attire and shaking your hand. Being dressed correctly is crucial!

After preparing and making your first impressions, now comes the showcase of your accomplishments, knowledge, and personality. Your preparedness for this meeting will make or break you. Know what accomplishments to talk about and what strengths to demonstrate. When questions are posed to you, do not just answer with your opinion; relate your opinion to a scenario or accomplishment. An example is as follows: “Do you work better as an individual or as a team member?” “Personally, I work better as a team member. When I served in the U.S. Military, I was part of a cyber law team. We were able to accomplish many different tasks because of how we encouraged each other. I was eventually promoted to Squad Leader because I encouraged my comrades daily. I received an accommodation medal for leading multiple successful missions as team member.” Notice how the example ended with a tie back to the original question. It is easy to get lost in your story and not make the connection back to what was originally asked. But if you can clearly define the relevance, you will be successful in highlighting why you would be the best candidate.

After you complete your interview, giving hand written thank you notes will make you memorable. When I finished college, I gave out thank you notes to every interview that I did in person. I had 22 offers and about half of them mentioned the thank you notes. Few candidates hand write thank you notes. If you do, even if you had an average interview you will stick out and be remembered. Being remembered positively is how you get hired.

My hope is that you have gained some insight on how to land a position and be able to go into an interview confidently. I want you to get the dream job or a job in your dream industry. If you remember these tips and put them into action, you will stand an excellent chance at achieving your goals.