Thursday, July 31, 2014

Job Hunt Tips: The Interview

Here's our last post about Job Hunting!  I hope this series has been helpful and informative to you.  As always, please leave ideas and questions in the comments section and you're welcome to email me, too.

Great Interview Tips THAT WORK

It’s show time.  The interview.  This is it.
Most of my tips are on the parts leading up to the interview, but I do want to go over some good tips to cover all the bases.  Even when meeting with a recruiter, the interview is the most crucial part of the process.  Not to make you feel pressured, but this is where you win or lose the job, so let’s get you the tools you need to win!

The First 7 Seconds
Studies show that, when forming an impression on someone new, a person can make their judgment in as little 7 seconds.  Sometimes that’s before you can even get a word out.  This means that it’s how you look, the energy you give off, even the way you smell that makes your impression for you.  In the case of a job interview, it is critical that you make all of these things count.  The effort you put into your appearance for an interview says a lot, so here are my tips.
The key to making a good first impression
via Edelman
What to Wear
You don’t want to sabotage yourself before you speak by wearing something sloppy or shabby.  If you’re low on cash, borrow clothes or check out Goodwill, but make absolutely sure that you have something sharp and polished to wear.  If you can get an idea of what people wear to work at the company you're interviewing for, wear a nice version of that.  Looking like you fit can be very helpful, but here are my general rules:
Simple colors
Suit if possible, or clean separates
Long hair pulled back neatly
Simple jewelry
Clean, professional shoes (e.g. black/nude pumps for girls)
Minimal purse or padfolio

The standard interview outfit uses neutral colors, so don't wear anything like red/peach/yellow/bright colors.  Almost all blues are fine, and darker burgundy/green/purple should be fine, too.  Keep jewelry and make up minimal, but use what you need to make yourself look put together and composed.  Feel free to get a consultation from the girls at the department stores about what makeup you could use to look more polished.  Guys and girls, make sure your eyebrows are groomed and your nails are clean and neat.

What to wear for your interview

Wear what flatters you, but make sure nothing is too revealing.  This is not the time to make a fashion statement.  Even your accessories and purse should look professional.  I’ve pulled together some ideas to look at here.  If you think you really need some help, consider hiring an image consultant for your interview. 

Also, I highly recommend watching this 20-minute video about posture.  There's a section where she talks about using a power stance.  Standing up straight with your fists on your hips like Superman triggers some things in your mind that make you feel more powerful and look more confident.  Both of these things will help you look more attractive in an interview.


What to Say
Try to build a connection with your interviewer.  Convey your accomplishments through stories, as I detailed here.  If it comes up organically in the interview, point out things you have in common with.  Ask him or her about what they like about the company.

Project positivity.  This will make people gravitate you and it will show a great deal of character and an excellent attitude.  No one wants to hire someone who complains about their past job or who starts ranting about being let go.  Show your energy.  Show that you'd be a great person to work with.  Remember, what you say in your interview is your sales pitch.  Take a moment, if you need, to form your answers in an informative, yet concise way.  Always be honest, but practice ahead of time explaining mistakes or times you were fired.  Find the best light for your experiences.  Stay on topic and let the interviewer guide the conversation.

Finally, be sure to have questions set up to ask your interviewer.  I can promise you that you will be asked "Do you have any questions?"  This is an excellent opportunity to prove you're truly interested in the company and position.

Other points: As a rule, eye contact, good posture, no fidgeting, and no cell phone use.  Practicing a solid but not crushing handshake would be good, too.  Bring a few copies of your resume with you, but have them in a neutral colored folder/padfolio.   

Follow Up
Always, always, always thank the interviewer for their time.
Be proactive about the next step in the process.  It is completely appropriate to explain at the end of the interview that you believe you would be an excellent fit for the position (as long as you mean it).  If you do want the job, ask when would be a good time to follow up.  You could even ask, “Would you like to schedule our next interview now?  I’m free in the mornings later this week.”
Many still consider a thank you note the best professional gesture for after an interview.  I don’t have much to say about thank you notes other than be sure to be concise, consider mentioning points or ideas from your interview, and proofread it a million times before sending.  Then have someone else proofread it, too.  If you don't get the job, it could still be beneficial to both of you to keep up a good rapport.  Never burn any of your bridges, no matter how narrow they may be.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I know that these tips will help you get a leg up on the interview.  Good luck!


  1. Very wonderful thoughts! My son is looking for a job now and since it's his first time, I'm sure this blog will help him a lot. I will share this to him now so that he can start preparing for his job hunting. Thanks for sharing!

    Jobs in Australia


  2. To be a successful job seeker in this climate, you have to be calm, patient and proactive -- and try any (or all) of these tips.
    -Pick and Choose Your Targets
    -Concentrate on Growth Industries
    -Work Your Network
    -Sell Yourself
    -Consider Freelancing
    -Take a Temporary position
    -Sweat the Small Stuff
    -And Stayyyy Positive at all times.

    for more tips and career related article visit


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