Picture this: you have an interview tomorrow morning, and your heart is beating three times faster than usual. You can’t seem to find your resume anywhere, and your face is breaking out in a cold sweat. Calm down: these nerves are normal. Take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders. You want to make the best first impression and feel ready to show them how amazing you are.
Lucky for you, we’ve constructed 15 tips to help you nail every interview, according to the people actually doing the recruiting.
1. Know Your Resume
This seems like a basic one, and you’re probably thinking, ‘Of course I know my resume.’ But just how well do you really know your resume? A resume typically shapes a company’s first impression about you, so make sure you know it like the back of your hand.
“My best interview tip is to truly know your resume,” said Tromberg, Moris and Poulin managing partner and lawyer Andrea Tromberg. “Be ready to show that your resume is not filled with jobs that you really cannot back up with detailed experience.”
I know you experienced everything on your resume, but study it. And then study it again.
2. Research the Company
Never go into an interview blind-sighted. Whether it be a job, internship or research opportunity, know the company so they can better know you. Show recruiters that you are knowledgeable about their work and the values they uphold. This expresses strong interest, and it shows you care about the company. Be the person who impresses them with quick facts and let them know you did your homework.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
You’ve heard it a million times, so buckle up and get ready to hear it a million times more. Practice is key to perfecting nearly anything. So whether that feels like propping your Zoom camera up in the right angle or talking in front of your mirror until you feel confident, practice = your best friend.
“Prepare, practice and rehearse because you need to go in anticipating what questions may be asked,” said Disney Vacation Club’s Director of Finance Jay Roesch.
Believe it or not, searching up possible questions and writing your potential answers on a Google Docs page helps a ton. So grab your computer, stand in front of your mirror and practice until you feel as confident as ever.
4. Dress to Impress
Regardless of whether your interview takes place in-person or over Zoom, dress up in a way that not only makes you look good, but one that makes you feel good, too. Ladies: whip out your Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer, throw on your favorite business casual attire and apply your favorite lipgloss. Gentlemen: comb your hair neatly, fasten that tie and don’t forget to wear your smile.
“Above all, be yourself,” GCA salesperson Michael Herrman said. “Present yourself as you truly are, and not to just impress.”
When you feel your best, you perform your best. You’re going to take on the world anyway, so why not look hot doing it?
5. Brainstorm Smart Questions to Ask
Personally, the scariest interview questions I always received was this: “Are there any questions you would like to ask me?” Talk about heart-dropping. I always gazed at an empty spot in the room, and I never knew what to say. Well thankfully for you, you’re in luck. Before any interview, brainstorm possible questions to ask your interviewer. Recruiters love it when their interviewees ask intriguing questions, so plan ahead of time of what you may ask. It’ll save you from experiencing a lot of stress in the future.
6. Pay Attention to Detail
This tip ties heavily into your resume, but it also remains important when recalling previous experiences. Detail is key. Show recruiters exactly what you did, what you experienced and what you learned from those experiences. Of course, make sure to highlight those accomplishments. There’s nothing more compelling than in-depth and intriguing anecdotes, so make sure to use that to your advantage!
7. Bring Energy to the Room
Believe it or not, the energy in a room is all dependent on you. Whether it’s opening that door or clicking “join meeting in progress,” make your presence unforgettable. It really comes down to your entrance. So bring as much energy to the room as possible, and show the recruiters that you stand out among every other candidate. Never adapt to the energy in the room; rather transform the energy in the room. Keep your head up high, put your shoulder back and make them wonder how they never heard of you previously.
8. Resist the Urge to Lie
This is a key tip, and it can often make or break an interview. Triple-check to make sure that everything you wrote down in your resume is accurate, and only recall experiences in your interview that actually happened. The worst possible thing for you to do as an interviewee is get caught in a lie. If you do get caught in a lie, well, good luck Charlie.
9. Hype Yourself up Before the Interview
Yes, you read it right. Nobody is going to cheer you on as much as you, so hype yourself up. Drink some fun energy drinks (I recommend Starbucks Cold Brew) and tell yourself that you’re going to nail this interview. Play some fun jams while you’re at it. Whether that be jumping around your room to the Jonas Brothers or rapping every line to a Cardi B. song while driving on the highway, get pumped up! I already know you’re going to kill it, so make sure that you know that too.
10. Have All Your Documents Ready
Resumes, letters of recommendation and anything in between. Prepare to have everything on-deck for your interview! Lay everything out the night before, so you’ll feel ready to go when the morning comes.
11. Prepare for that “Tell Me About Yourself” Question
No need to go to the gym during the day of your interview because this question alone causes your heart to beat fast enough to the point where you’ve hit your cardio goal for the day. This question feels guaranteed to trip you up, and I typically find myself going down a million rabbit holes.
Do I talk about my hobbies? My experiences in the workplace? Is mentioning my Zodiac sign recommended? The questions feel endless, which is why I’m here to help. Prepare for this question, and plan out, relatively, what you are going to say. This will immensely calm your nerves, and you’ll probably have a well-prepared, stellar answer to give your interviewer.
12. Practice Your Body Language
Just as important it is to practice what you plan on saying, practicing your body language is major for feeling comfortable. Bonus points for easing your anxiety! As mundane as it sounds, practice sitting. Are you going to cross your legs? What’s your arm placement going to look like? Practicing, or simply just going over what you plan on doing will help relieve stress and make you feel more confident for your interview.
13. Print Copies of Your Resume
This goes hand-in-hand with bringing documents. Printing hard copies of your resume will not only portray to interviewers that you are prepared, but it will also show them that you are invested in bringing your all to an interview. There may be more than one interviewer, so it is important to have extra copies of your resume just in case.
14. Show up Early
One of my biggest fears during an interview? Showing up late. I despise feeling like I’m in a rush, and you probably do as well. If you plan on driving, give five to 10 minutes of leeway so you can take a breather before the interview.
If on a Zoom call, prepare everything ahead of time, and show up ready at your desk at least five minutes before your scheduled interview. Trust me, showing up early is one of the simplest ways to relieve yourself of anxiety, and it will allow you to focus on the interview itself. Besides, in the working world, being right on time is usually considered being late– just remember that!
15. Fake it Until you Make it
At the end of the day, you are the only person who knows how nervous you feel. Nobody else can hear your heart beating out of your chest or your inner-conscious freaking out. People only see what you portray on the outside. So if you bring that positive energy, a confident persona and trust in yourself that you will absolutely kill that interview, you are guaranteed to make an amazing first impression. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. And take on the world.