No matter what career path you want to take, you will eventually have to sit in front of a prospective employer and sell yourself as a model employee. Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s for a position that you want or need to get started along your career path. As a young professional, or as someone entering the workforce for the first time, interviewing for the job you want can be scary. Here are some tips to help you nail your job interview and leave a lasting positive impression on your future employer. Dress for the Part They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to a job interview. Dressing for the job you want helps you with leaving an immediate good impression. From the moment you announce yourself to the receptionist, you’re carefully graded on your professionalism and character. While waiting for the interview to start, make sure you maintain a friendly demeanor in the hall. Turn off your phone and sit up straight. Know Who You’re Talking To Now that you’ve made the first impression, it’s time to wow the interviewer with your knowledge about the job. Ideally, you’ll have enough time before the interview to research the company: its values, financials, history, corporate responsibility, etc. There’s nothing wrong with bringing a little notepad with important information written down as a cheat sheet. Having a notepad on hand will also help you write down anything during the interview that you don’t want to forget or that you want to ask about later. Oh, and speaking about writing things down, make sure to include the name of the interviewer. Practice Your Answers Every interview is going to be different, but you can correctly guess the kinds of questions you’re going to be asked. No matter what you do, don’t “wing it.” While you can’t know exactly what the interviewer will say, you can at least practice your answers to common questions, such as:
- Why do you want to work here? Now would be a good time to show them how much you know about the company and why you think you’d be a good fit. This is not the time to talk about how you want to make money or how your parents are forcing you to get a job.
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Be honest and talk about your planned career trajectory. Keep it interesting and realistic. If you say that you see yourself as the CEO in five years, you might not be taken seriously.
- Why should we hire you? We hope you’ve practiced selling yourself without sounding arrogant because that’s precisely what you should do. Give them a reason to pick you above all other candidates and try something fresh and different and memorable. Avoid clichés like, “I’m a hard worker,” because you want to stand out and not sound like everyone else.