When you’re in the market for a new job most of your energy goes to finding job listings for positions you’re qualified for and then applying to those positions. But what happens when you’ve sent in your resume and your cover letter and then get the email or phone call that says the hiring manager would like to see you for an interview? Sometimes that success can cause panic to set in!
The simple truth is that it’s in your interview (or interviews!) that you’ll really do the hard work of convincing an employer that you’re the perfect candidate for the job. We’ve got three interview musts for anyone entering the job candidacy process, whether it’s your first round of interviews or your third.
1 – Relax a little bit
Yes, it’s best if you can be somewhat relaxed in your interview. Not overly so—you don’t want to appear lazy. But you should try not to look overly worried or unsure. Not just because excessive signs of nervousness could indicate to a prospective employer that you’re not sure you’re up to the task. Nervousness can also be misinterpreted in a number of ways—it could give the impression that you’re hiding something or in some way are untrustworthy.
We know you’re stressed—so how on earth are you supposed to relax for your very important interview? You should start out by congratulating yourself that your resume has passed muster and the company thinks there’s a good chance you could be a good fit for them. Take that confidence booster and channel it into a calm, cool, and collected attitude when you go in for your interview. The company has already indicated that they think you could be the one, now just go confirm that for them!
2 – Remember an interview goes both ways
While your primary goal during your interview is to sell yourself, don’t forget that the company should make an effort to sell you on the job as well. Pay attention to the atmosphere around you, try to learn something about the company culture while you’re in the building. Do you like what you see? Do you have questions? Use your best judgment, but an interview is a good time to ask about what things will be like if you do get the job. Good questions to ask are about what a typical day in your new position would look like.
3 – Be honest
We’ve all heard that you should fake it until you make it. And there is a grain of truth there—after all, a little bit of spin can be a good thing. But always be sure not to bend the truth. If you’re not honest about your work experience or your academic credentials, there’s a good chance your prospective employer’s human resources department will discover it. We’ve also heard of interviewers who deliberately ask about a fictitious industry term to test whether an interviewee is able to admit that they don’t know something. Your kindergarten teacher was right—honesty really is the best policy.