As much as your qualifications and experience speak for you, when you’re looking to move up in your career there’s going to come a time when you have to speak for yourself. Reddit users share their top ten tips for making a good impression in your big interview
1. Answer their questions
Lots of people will start answering the question but never really finish because they go off on a tangent halfway through. It's frustrating as an interviewer to have to ask someone to get back on point, but it's also a little embarrassing for the candidate and it can throw you off your rhythm. I want to know the information because it's important. It also shows you listened to what was being asked of you and you delivered what was required.
2. Check for concerns
At the end of the interview, ask if they have any concerns about your resume, your interview answers or your application in general. It's a great way to see if there is anything they perhaps misunderstood or you didn't explain well enough. I've asked this in every interview and in all but one it's given me some immediate feedback and the ability to allay any concerns they might have. For example, I once had someone say I interviewed great but they were concerned I lived too far away, something that didn't come up in the interview. I was able to then say I would be relocating.
3. Do interview prep before you go
You should be able to predict most of the questions, but just writing down what your strengths are and thinking about them will increase your confidence. Make notes on the company and role from the job description; how does that match up with your skills and experience? This crossover is important because it's usually why they will hire you.
4. Take notes
Use a notepad, for example, the one you used for your interview notes. Make sure you ask if it's okay that you have your notes out, or if you can take notes during the interview. You won't always be able to do this because of a strict NDA, but that's why you ask. Good things to write down include the person's name since it can be easy to forget, especially if more than one person is interviewing you.
5. Be aware of the follow-up
Ask what the next steps are and when you might be hearing from them. Use your instincts when it comes to follow up. If you interviewed at retail and it went well, check in with the manager in a week and let them know you enjoyed your interview and you'll be available to start very soon if they pick you. But if you interview at a large company that specifically doesn't take phone calls then don't harass them. If I'm in HR you email me asking when you will hear, chances are I'm chasing the hiring manager for an answer too.
6. Eye contact
In my first couple of interviews I never really made a conscious effort to make eye contact with my interviewers. When I think back on it, I probably wasn't doing it nearly enough and could have made me look less confident. Today, I made a clear effort to look my interviewer in the eye when I spoke and I think it made a huge difference.
7. Be sociable
Be kind to those you meet before the interview - I made sure to put on whatever charm I could for the secretary, as well as another female employee in the front desk area. It actually turned into a nice 10-minute conversation, and without sounding too cocky, I think it helped me make a great first impression. If the people there can see themselves spending time in the office with you (i.e. working with you), it can only be a bonus for you.
8. Ask questions throughout the interview
Not just at the end - I can see how this one wouldn't work for every type of interview, but I did this today because it seemed like it was the right thing to do. The result was the interview ended up being more of a conversation between me and the interviewer about a number of things. I can only assume this would make me/you stand out from another typical question after question interview.
9. Do not be scared of failure
If you perform poorly, you'll know it straight away and my best advice is just to take the rest of the day off and forget it. Then when you're feeling better try to figure out why it went poorly; bad preparation etc. I find a big one is a stress of getting somewhere new, where to park, who to ask for when I get there etc. Then work on these for the next interview.
10. Don't take it personally
If you did well and didn't get it, there was probably someone better. I've had to call great people and say no, and by and large the younger people took it rough and the older people took it on the chin.