If you were to ask active job seekers what part of the search they dread the most, in person interviews are probably at the top of the list. It can be extremely intimidating to have to sell yourself to people who can help shape and determine your career path, and potentially help you land your dream job. The trickiest part of interviewing is learning how to balance between explaining why the company would benefit greatly from your expertise and knowledge, without coming across as overly confident.

Here are some tips that you can use the next time you interview:

Know your resume
Know your background, accomplishments, work timeline, and any awards/certifications/publications you have inside and out. This seems like a simple one but surprisingly, many people become flustered in an interview and cannot remember when they worked at past companies, or when they accomplished specific achievements.

Do your homework
Make sure you research the company, group, hiring manager and interviewers with before you interview. You can easily find this information online by doing a quick search on LinkedIn or your favorite search engine. Many people assume that they will not be able to find insider information on a group, but you’d be amazed at what you can find online. When you come to an interview armed with information, it shows that you care enough to learn everything you can about the team you could be potentially joining.

Come prepared
Prepare for the interview as you would for any test or certification you are taking – it is one of the most important tests you will “take”. Many interviewers use behavioral interviewing techniques and it’s crucial to have examples ready to go when you are asked. Research example behavioral interview questions/answers, and come up with your own examples you can use if asked similar questions. Studying your own examples you’d like to use before your interview will help you feel prepared when asked, so that you aren’t scrambling for an answer. You can find great examples here:

Prepare for the interview as you would for any test or certification you are taking – it is one of the most important tests you will “take”. Many interviewers use behavioral interviewing techniques and it’s crucial to have examples ready to go when you are asked. Research example behavioral interview questions/answers, and come up with your own examples you can use if asked similar questions. Studying your own examples you’d like to use before your interview will help you feel prepared when asked, so that you aren’t scrambling for an answer. You can find great examples here.

Dress appropriately
Many candidates assume that they should “dress their best” and show up to interviews in business formal clothing. Not so! Ask around before showing up to your interview on what is considered acceptable at the company you’re interviewing at. If you are working with a recruiter, you can ask them what is appropriate, or you can ask around in your network to see if anyone has any knowledge of the culture. If you arrive in business formal attire at a very relaxed, laid back startup, they may write you off immediately as not being a great culture fit. On the flip side, if you show up in casual attire at a company that places high value on being professionally presentable at all times, you will make a bad first impression in the opposite way. More and more hiring managers are placing as much of an emphasis on team/culture/company fit as they do on skills/experience/background.

Pauses are OK
When asked a question that catches a candidate off guard, many times they become flustered and answer with the first thing that comes to mind. It is typically not the answer they would want to give, and comes across as rushed and not fully thought out. Don’t be afraid to ask for a minute to think about the question, and answer accordingly. The interviewer will appreciate that you are taking the time to think the question through, and will gladly wait for an answer. Try to get away from thinking that silence in an interview is uncomfortable – it actually shows that a candidate is thorough and articulate; two traits that most hiring managers are looking for.

Always follow up with a thank you note or email if possible. This is not considered outdated like many may think. You never know, it may be the one thing that sets you apart from others that interview, and is always appreciated. Learn more today about interview tips from our recruiting team today!

Topics: Staffing & Hiring, Interview success, Interview tips, Xtreme recruiters

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ABOUT Michelle

Michelle spends her days in the Kirkland office staring out at the lake wishing she was paddle boarding. OH, and helping lead the Talent Acquisition team. She works every day to find and attract the best candidates in the Puget Sound area to join Xtreme's awesome team.
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