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Strategies for Successful Interviews

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Figures Running

Congratulations, you got an interview! Now, all you have to do is land the job.

First, you can and should be confident. Having been granted an interview, you can safely assume the employer has already determined that you potentially have the necessary skills and background to fill the open position. Remember you were invited. Employers are hoping you are the right fit just as much as you do. So, walk in (or Zoom in) with your head held high and your shoulders squared.

Presentation is very important. As old school as it might seem in today’s current market, it is good to remember to wear professional business attire. For women, do not have bare shoulders or open-toed shoes. Jewelry should be minimal and avoid wearing fragrance. For those with long hair, we recommend pulling it back into a sleek ponytail or bun. We want to be able to see your face and expressions and not be distracted by your luxurious mane! Men should always wear a neatly pressed collared button-down shirt and a tie. A sports coat is a strong addition. Polished shoes are important.

Don’t just be on time, be at least ten minutes early. You want to be well-settled before the interview begins, not dashing in breathless at the last moment. Many employers consider punctuality extremely important and being late — even a single minute late — may automatically disqualify you. With many interviews being conducted via Zoom, this means logging on at least, 2-5 minutes before the host. You want to be ready and waiting, and not have the interviewer waiting for you.

Maintain comfortable, natural eye contact with the interviewer. On Zoom, that means looking at the camera, not the picture, when you are speaking. It is fine to look at the person’s picture when they are speaking, but remember to speak to the camera. Further, please ensure you have an appropriate background which is clear of clutter, anything political, inappropriate or controversial. We recommend avoiding virtual backgrounds as they tend to glitch the picture and you might suddenly have a lost arm while gesturing. If for some reason you must use a virtual background, have it be simple and plain without “cute” images, slogans or location destinations showing.

Listen carefully to everything the interviewer asks before responding. Most have a tendency to start their response too soon. Never cut off the interviewer by jumping in before they are completely finished. This also gives you a moment to provide a more considered response. Remember to respond directly, clearly and succinctly. You want to be detailed, but not go off on tangents or long-winded stories. This is not a social interaction. For example, if an employer asks about a specific skill you lack, don’t try to dance around the questions. You either have the skill or you don’t.

Ideally, you want the interviewer to “see” and appreciate the “real” you. People hire people they like. Chemistry, the connection between you and the interviewer, is crucial to being considered. You might be lacking in one or two skills but if your personality is a match with those whom you would be working, such as being seen as a team player who is willing to pitch in, well, that can go a long in creating a positive impression.

Finally, always leave an interview thanking those you met for their time and letting them know you are interested in the position. Many leave the interview without doing either. No one is expecting you to be perfect but these tips above should get you on the right track!

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