Five Ways to Take the Edge Off of Interviewing

Interviewing can be intimidating. It’s important to be prepared so you won’t sweat the small stuff. Here are five simple strategies to help you cut through the noise and interview confidently.

1. Get the Intel
Ask the recruiter or your HR contact for an itinerary or the names and titles of the interview team members. If you’re working with a third-party recruiter, ask for insight into personalities and interview styles. Look interviewers up on social media to learn more about their backgrounds and identify anything you have in common.

2. Look the Part
Unless specifically told otherwise, plan to wear business formal attire (a freshly cleaned and pressed business suit) to an interview. Shine your shoes, manicure your nails (ladies and gentlemen), and look your best so you’ll feel confident. If you will be touring any kind of industrial facility, ask if safety shoes are required.

3. Be Punctual
It’s okay to be early for an interview, but not by more than ten or fifteen minutes. For local opportunities, take a drive by the location prior to your interview date. If you will be traveling for an interview be sure to designate the travel dates and times when mapping out your drive. Always allow extra time to avoid unnecessary pre-interview stress.

4. Be Prepared
Review the job description, it’s a checklist of things the employer needs and wants. Think of examples in your professional experience that align with the checklist and practice talking about them. Yes, out loud. Explain the circumstances or situation, define your role in the response or action taken, and summarize the outcome and organizational benefit. Your professional narrative will flow more organically, and you’ll be more confident when delivering answers. Use the same job description to formulate questions for your interviewers. Ask questions so you can fully qualify the role and company culture for yourself.

5. Follow Through
Always arrive for an interview with a professional folio that can hold pens, a pad of paper, business cards, a list of questions you have about the company and position, and copies of your resume. Have a printed resume for each team member, plus two extras: one for your reference and an extra in case an unexpected team member sits in on the interviews. Collect business cards from interviewers and follow up with brief “thank you” emails within 24 hours.