Interviews are terrifying.
Even if you’ve already met the interviewer at a networking event or trade show, they can still be pretty nerve-wracking. The days leading up to an interview are often a blurred chain of exciting events like loss of sleep, raised blood pressure, butterflies taking up residence in your stomach, and—if you’re really lucky—maybe even a good cry.
Yet, amidst all this stress, impatience, and nervousness, we are supposed to walk in calm, cool, and collected to greet our *fingers crossed* future boss with a firm handshake and confident smile. And if you go in ill-prepared, the interview could be a flurry of questions you’re not expecting, and next thing you know, it’s all over.
This is where the folks here at IBS can really help. It’s their job to ensure you land your next job. And part of getting you there is nailing the interview. Working directly with hiring managers, they’ve got unique insight into exactly what to do (and not to do), and a few tips on how to calm those nerves and conquer your interview-phobia.
We talked to the staff at IBS and put together a list of their top 10 tips:
10. Do your homework
Researching the company beforehand is crucial, as you do not want to seem underprepared or ill-informed. Get familiar by reading their company blog posts, social media, management information, and mission statement. Only showing interest or knowledge about the position for which you’re applying could leave a bad impression — like you’d take the same job anywhere regardless of the company. And even if that’s actually true, maybe don’t give off that impression if you want to get hired.
9. Be punctual
Arrive 15-20 minutes early to your interview, but don’t go into the interview until 5 minutes before start time. Use that extra time to collect your thoughts, decompress and gather your materials.
Get mentally prepared.
It’s also a good idea to drive to the interview site the night before so you can become familiar with the route and any traffic issues you may encounter.
8. Dress to impress
Tuck in your shirt, comb your hair, clean up that facial hair, go easy on the perfume/cologne, and for the love of God spit out your gum. As far as clothing goes, keep it business professional – ideally a suit. We know a lot of tech companies have relaxed cultural environments, but you can take advantage of that after you get the job. Aka, maybe don’t show up in shorts, sandals and a hoodie until you’re in the corporate directory.
Pro-Tip: Wearing your favorite color is a simple way to feel a bit more at ease and get an extra boost of confidence. If you think you look good, it’ll show in your cadence.
7. Limit potential distractions
Leave your devices in the car (including that smart watch) – anything that might buzz or ding you with notifications and take you mentally away from the interview. You should also avoid using body language that could give off a vibe that you’re not paying attention, like slouching or letting your eyes wander around the room as you talk. Look your interviewer in the eye (or right in between the eyes if that’s more comfortable for you) and practice active listening by repeating what they say and taking time to think about your answer before responding.
6. Be concise (but not short)
Avoid answering any questions with a simple “yes” or “no” response.
Even if it seems elementary to you, a more technical question may not be as simple to a hiring manager with no technical expertise (that’s what they’re hiring you for, after all). At the same time, avoid getting too deep into details or rambling on and on and on about something that may not even have relevance to the question. Answer questions as directly and concisely as possible; you can always ask the interviewer if they need more information. And try not to answer a question with a question unless it’s to clarify something.
5. Don’t. Be. Evasive.
Honesty is key. Don’t try to oversell yourself by acting fake or elaborating on things that may not necessarily be true…for example, taking one semester of Angular.js in college does not make you an Angular developer. Be careful not to change subjects or lead away from the question at hand. It’s okay to talk about your hobbies, but you want to be careful not to dive too deep into your personal life or get off on a tangent that has no value to the interview.
4. Stay positive
Your past employment history will come up, and even if you had a negative experience, it’s best to refrain from bad-mouthing former bosses or coworkers. You can share negative experiences and the lessons you learned from them in a tasteful way.
Pro-tip: If you find yourself in the middle of an interview, realizing you don’t actually want the job, finish it out strong anyways. Leave a positive impression on the hiring manager, you never know where they may end up in the future or how they may be able to advance your career outside of this interview.
3. Provide real-world examples
Employers want problem-solvers, and you have to demonstrate how you’re equipped to solve theirs. Hiring managers like to hear about a problem you had, the actionable steps you took to solve that problem, and what the results were. Using real examples and avoiding generalities improves your credibility.
2. Prepare questions in advance.
Along with bringing copies of your resume and something to take notes on, you should also have a pre-prepared list of questions to ask the hiring manager. 5-10 questions shows your interest in the position and the company while still respecting your interviewer’s time. If you’re unsure about the types of questions you should ask, you can always go to your recruiter for advice or send them potential questions ahead of time.
1. Be enthusiastic (and ask for the job)
Enthusiasm is key. In fact, 89% of recruiters say their number one desire in a candidate is enthusiasm. Conveying genuine interest and excitement for the position, the company (and its culture) will set you apart from all the rest of the candidates. Your interviewer will meet with plenty of other qualified individuals with a skill set very similar to yours. Stand out by being the one who seems to want it the most. And if you really want the job, make sure you state that at the end of the interview.
Allow us to help you through your next interview and land your next job. Visit www.ibs.com to see what positions we’re currently hiring for, or submit your resume and we’ll find one that’s just right for you.