You've sent in the resume, you've heard back, and now you're prepping for you're interview. Going into a meeting with a stranger who is deciding your future can always be a bit intimidating.
In part of my time as a young professional, one of my many hats has involved hiring. Most of the time, we were hiring for part-time positions but it amazed me how many people didn't know how to dress for an interview and also lacked interview skills in general.
You should ALWAYS dress for the job you dream of having. If anything, error on the side of overdressed. In my opinion, jeans for an interview are 100% unacceptable unless maybe you're interviewing with Levi's. Whether you're interviewing for a part time position or your full time career, be professional. The outfit I'm wearing here is something I'd expect someone to show up in to an interview. I've seen everything from this to running shorts and a t-shirt (not even joking).
I have pretty strong opinions on how you should dress for an interview because let's be honest, we judge based on first appearance and that's what we notice before we ever open our mouths for introductions. Let's dive into a few other tips for interviews.
- Do your research. You should know the basics about the company. When they were founded, a little bit about their history, their slogan if you can find it, their core values, etc. You should know what the company stands for and what their main function is. You need to be able to speak to that and how you can contribute to their company.
- Know what position you are interviewing for and it's main duties. Yes, this may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many times I've heard, "so what positions are you hiring for?" during an interview. Read over the job description and maybe even print it to bring to the interview.
- Have your elevator speech ready to go. Most interviews start off with "So X, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you're from, what you do." You need to be prepared with something more than just your name and school or just what's on your resume. For example, mine sounds something like this. "I've grown up in Indianapolis, living on both the south and northside. I love that we have this happy medium of being a larger city with a small town feel. I'm family oriented and enjoy spending time with my husband, mom, dad, and younger brother. You can find me out and about enjoying our local wineries and restaurants. Traveling is a passion of mine and I enjoy exploring new places especially if the mountains are involved. Professionally, I eat, sleep, live, and breathe in the fashion industry. I have a deep understanding of branding and the ability to connect an audience to the lifestyle a brand conveys."
- Be conversational. You do not want to sound rehearsed or like a broken record during an interview. Treat it as if it's a casual conversation with someone you are meeting for the first time. Even with your elevator speech, you want to make sure it sounds conversational.
- Always be prepared with a couple of questions for your interviewer. I would always ask candidates if they had any questions for me before I ended an interview. Answering 'no' shows that maybe you aren't that interested or that you were disconnected throughout the interview.
- Bring a printed copy of your resume and a notebook. You may want to take notes during the interview and it's always helpful to have your resume with you just in case.
- Silence your phone or put it on Do Not Disturb. Make sure there is nothing that could potentially distract you or the person interviewing you.
- Show up WAY early. You never know if parking may be an issue or if you'll hit traffic. Being late for an interview is 100% unacceptable.
- Be honest. Don't tell them that you have experience with Photoshop if you don't. Tell them your strengths, weaknesses, and how you are going to benefit their company overall.
In general, take a breath and go in confidently. The whole point of an interview is to determine if you're a good fit for the company, but also if they are a good fit for you.
If you have an interview coming up, I wish you the best.
Cheers to meeting the people who decide your future,