You send out hundreds of resumes to hundreds of companies, hoping that you make the first pass and be considered for hiring. After a few days, you receive a call inviting you to a job interview. After the initial rush of euphoria passes, fear sets in. While your first instinct may be to flee, convince yourself to stand your ground. While it is possible (and quite easy) to ruin your job interview and wreck any chance of being hired, you can reduce that risk just by taking a few precautions.
First Step: Reconnaissance
The most important thing when it comes to preparing for a job interview is research. The company has already demonstrated interest in you, so it’s only fair that you sow an interest in the company. Look up the company on the Internet, check out its website, news feeds, and write down a short summary of what the company’s all about. While knowing the exact value of dividends paid out to shareholders a decade back won’t be of much help, having a good idea of the company’s profile, history, and achievements will make a positive impression on the recruiter. You should also plan ahead and learn how to get to the interview location. Coming in late often disqualifies candidates on the spot.
Appearance is Everything
Any person with job recruiting acumen is going to pay very close attention to your behavior. Even if you shine during the interview with knowledge of the company and display phenomenal skills, if your demeanor and attitude are found lacking, you will remain jobless. To minimize the risk, make sure to dress professionally. Subdued, calm colors and simple, neutral shapes are the optimal choice. Be sure not to go overboard either. Dress like you would for a funeral and the recruiter will likely react negatively. Be sure to always observe etiquette and behave in a courteous manner towards everyone. A confident, polite job applicant gains an advantage from the start.
Keep Calm and Stay Focused
Panic easily surfaces in stressful situations, and job interviews are no exception. However, do not allow it to affect your focus. This is especially important when the job interview is underway and the recruiter starts asking questions. While many are absolutely terrified of this stage of the interview, consider that the recruiter is simply trying to find out more about you and determine if you’re the right fit for the job. Be honest and to the point during the interview. Avoid lying at all costs, as lies can be very easily exposed and lose you the job.
Mind the Limbs
Body language forms a very important part of communication, especially during an interview. If you’re too casual, the recruiter will think you’re not taking him or the company seriously. Be too tense and you may make an impression that you’re too wound up to effectively manage stress at work. In order to minimize the risk of making the wrong impression, you should devote a bit of your time to understanding your own body’s language and your habits. Ask your friends and family for feedback. Ideally, you’ll be sitting in a position that implies attention and confidence on your part: sitting upright, slightly leaning forward, maintaining natural eye contact. Don’t forget that the time you spend refining your body language will also benefit you outside the job interview.