Interviews allow hiring influencers to decide if you’ll be a good fit for the open position, and for the organization. They’re a high-stakes marketing presentation selling YOU. So, you can have all the right skills, the best education, and great experience, but a poor presentation can distract from and even diminish the perceived value of the product!
Dress for success. Even if you’re interviewing at a casual IT workplace, wear a suit and arrive well-groomed. Time and again I’ve heard hiring influencers equate the desire for the positon to how formally the candidate dressed. Show respect and interest by dressing and grooming yourself conservatively, and with care. We’ve all encountered candidates who dressed down and that choice was perceived as either indifference or over-confidence.
Introduce yourself. Have an elevator pitch prepared, and learn how to give a brief, firm handshake. After your dress and grooming, introductions are your second chance to make a great impression!
Project confidence. Sit up, stand straight with shoulders back, make eye contact, and keep your posture upright and open. Keep your hands visible without fidgeting. This body language says you know your worth, and it’s considerable!
Slow down. Anxiety produces adrenalin. Adrenalin is the fight-or-flight hormone that gives you speed and power to either run from the bear or kill it! It’s useful in the wild, or during a mugging, but it can sink your interview if you let it. Keep your speech, walk, and gestures slow and smooth. Pace your answers, even if your thoughts are racing. This helps you look calm, confident, and makes your answers sound thoughtful.
Practice. Are there parts of this list that are difficult for you? Making eye contact feels artificial, or perhaps you’re used to slouching to read your phone screen? Elevator pitches are intimidating for many candidates, and so is a simple handshake. Practice with friends, your spouse, or even at networking events. Repetition in a lower-stress environment breeds familiarity and builds muscle memory, so that many of these things can become second nature even during interviewing.