Today I spent the day filling out job applications. My hope is that I can find a part time job so my bank account stops screaming for help. Over the years, I have taken a few different career readiness classes. My favorite one was my senior year of high school. In the class, we learned everything from how to fill out an application to the best answers for interview questions.
Despite the amount of knowledge I have obtained over time, I still get anxious when I think about having an interview. If you are anything like me, you feel the same way. This inspired me to put together a little guide to help you rock interviews!
Whether you are a college student looking for some extra cash or a recent grad searching for the perfect job, this guide will help keep your stress to a minimum.
Research The Company You Have An Interview With
Glassdoor is a really great resource to get help with interview questions. While I was doing my research today, I found myself searching the site for each of the companies I was considering. I found out that one company asks you to try and sell them the credit card they offer. In order to do this I would need to know a little bit about the credit card. I found out that with the card, you get early access to sales as well as extra coupons. I can use this information to my advantage when “selling” the card to my interviewer.
Additionally, you’ll want to know things about the actual company and their mission. Why did you choose this company over their competition? What would your specific job requirements be? Knowing these details can set you apart from the competitions.
Prepare Your “About You” For Your Interview
If you are anything like me, you hate talking about yourself. So no matter how common the “tell me about yourself” question is, it always catches me off guard. Prepare a 20 second speech about yourself that will help calm your nerves. You don’t want it to be much longer than 20 seconds to avoid rambling. Describe who you are and be sure to make a good first impression.
Dress For The Position You Are Applying For
Deciding what to wear to an interview is the biggest source of anxiety for me. I struggle deciding if I should dress up or down or find an even mix.Typically, my go to outfit for interviews has always been business casual. But nowadays you can get away with dressing down a little more. If you are applying for an office style position, dress more formal.
Here are some examples of something I might wear to an interview for a more formal position.
As a general rule of thumb, wearing a nice blouse and dress pants or nice jeans are suitable. Dress the look up with an open blazer, a simple necklace and closed-toed flats or heels. You could also go with a neutral colored, simple dress. You want to present yourself in the best light and look as put together as possible (even if you’re life is actually a hot mess). Try to create a look from something you already have in your closet. There’s no point in buying clothes when you’re trying to make money!
For a clothing store, it is more acceptable to dress less formal (though you could never go wrong dressing up). Wearing something that the store sells is also a good idea. This way they can see that you are actually familiar with their clothes and fit their style.
For example, if I were applying to Old Navy, I might wear something like this to showcase my style with their products.
Always Be Punctual
I can not stress this one enough. It may seem obvious, but be on time, if not early, to your interview. what a terrible first impression you would leave if you showed up late! Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to allow yourself time to find parking, walk to the location you need to get to, and wait for the person interviewing you.
Smile and Relax
Smiling during the interview shows that you excited about the position and the possibility of working for the company. I know it’s easier said than done to relax during this process, but it’s important. Try to ignore the sweaty palms (I hope I’m not the only one) and keep your composure. You want to come off as confident as possible, so sit up straight and don’t forget to smile!
Present Yourself In A Positive Light
If you are asked what your biggest weakness is, present it in a way that comes off as a good thing. For example, I might say “my biggest weakness is that I am a perfectionist, which sometimes means I take a little longer on tasks so that I can produce the best results.” This shows that I love to produce great results but the cost is that it takes me a little longer.
If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t lie or make something up. Instead, answer with something along the lines of “I’m not sure, but I look forward to learning _____.” This way you show the interviewer that you are willing to ask questions and learn.
Say Thank You After The Interview
Manners are a major bonus! Look your interviewer in the eyes, shake their hand, and thank them for your time. Just as your first impression is important, it’s nice to end the interview the same way. The interviewer gave you their time, the least you can do is thank them.
Thanks for reading! I hope this post helped calm your nerves for your next interview. Let me know in the comments which tips were your favorite and how your next interview goes!