So you have landed an interview but know what?
One of the scariest parts of deciding to go into the corporate world is knowing how competitive it will be. Of course, you have to have decent grades, be talented and smart in your field, but you also have to make a great first impression. A ton of you have mentioned that you will be applying for summer internships and even your first “big girl” and need a little help on how to land it.
Because my mom has sat on tons of interview panels, I knew she would be the perfect person to help me with this post. We came up with our top tips to make the perfect first impression at an interview.
Before the Interview:
There are a couple really important thing to do to prepare for your interview.
- Research the company – what are they about, what are they involved in, what is their history. Know their mission and their role in the community.
- Know the full job description from the application and be prepared to ask questions and answer questions. (One of the biggest turn-offs for companies is when the interviewer has no questions, it makes them feel that you are not involved or prepared.)
- Look up popular interview questions and be prepared to answer them with examples so that you can answer confidently.
- Print extra copies of your resume (on resume paper) and bring a pen and paper in case you want to write anything important down.
How to Dress: Sleek & Chic
My mom and I both agreed that first impressions are everything and that starts the minute you walk in the door – before you ever even speak. When you walk into the room, the interviewer already knows your history on paper so your look becomes very important. Here are a few tips on how to dress for the interview:
- Be Clean Cut: make sure your hair is clean, try to wear natural looking makeup, make sure your nails are clean and your clothes are wrinkle-free. (This sounds like common sense but so many people make this mistake)
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality a little with your clothes that make sure you are fitting in with the business environment. I always try to wear heels and a jacket or blazer to my interview. I tend to mix up the bottoms between pencil skirts and pants and sometimes I will mix in a subtle pattern. (Some of my favorites are below)
- Keep your jewelry minimal. Wearing jewelry is a great thing but make sure that the “statement” you are making helps with your overall goal. I tend to go for a pair of neutral Kendra Scott earrings, a watch, and maybe a couple of bangles depending on the jacket.
How to Act in the interview:
- Smile & Shake hands. This is huge in the business world and shows confidence.
- Be engaged! Nod your head when you understand and don’t be afraid to ask questions or get clarification if you don’t. Be able to show your insight into the company and be prepared to share how you can help it grow. (Questions to ask: Where do you see the company going in the next five years? Will there be training and growth opportunities? What can I expect to do in the first 30 days? What does your average day/week look like? How would you describe the company culture?)
- Make sure your phone is off or on silent and put it away as soon as you walk in the door to the company (even if you are stuck waiting.)
- Be Upfront, if you have any concerns, conflicts including meets or volunteer events, or pre-planned trips be sure to mention them in the interview. The last thing you want is for them to feel like you are hiding something or were not honest and it might hinder you from growth in the company.
How to Act After the Interview:
How you act after the interview is just as important. These two things will set you apart from most applicants.
- Saying Goodbye: Be sure to thank them for their time and for the opportunity, make sure they know how interested you are even after the interview. Express your enthusiasm and ask if there is anything else you can do or provide to them.
- Write the interviewers thank you notes for taking the time and express your gratitude for the opportunity.
If you have any more questions my mom and I would be happy to help! Below are a few of my favorite workwear items that I would consider interview appropriate. Good Luck 🙂
Shop Interview Favorites: