Preparing for a job interview can be a challenge. After all, you never know exactly what to expect. To increase your chances of performing well on an interview, keep these universal do's and don'ts in mind.
Do: Show Up on Time
One of the biggest job interview mistakes you can make is to show up even a minute late. You never know when you might hit traffic, so give yourself plenty of extra time. Showing up early shows that you really want the position and that you're a reliable candidate.
Don't: Forget Your Resume and Cover Letter
There's a strong chance that the hiring manager has your resume and cover letter on hand, but that's not guaranteed. Show up fully prepared with hard copies of your resume, cover letter, and references. Even if you don't end up needing them, having these items available shows that you take initiative. Also, it never hurts to make the interviewer's day a little easier.
Do: Dress for Success
When seeking employment, it's always better to be overdressed. Nobody is going to fault you for looking too professional, but an overly casual outfit can work against you. Wear professional apparel, but make sure you're comfortable, too. You don't want to be sweating through an interview because you wore a full suit in the middle of summer.
Don't: Lie or Exaggerate
When it comes to a job interview, stick with the facts. Even if you're confident that you can get away with a little white lie, you're creating a risk that's just not worth it. Experienced hiring managers can often recognize telltale body language that may give you away, and there's always the chance that even a minor fabrication may eventually come back to bite you.
Do: Use Social Media to Your Advantage
These days, it's almost guaranteed that the hiring manager is going to search your name online before the interview. Ideally, your accounts should be populated with content that relates to your desired field before you even start seeking employment. If not, post relevant content now so that your online presence makes a positive impression.
Don't: Use Canned Responses
There's a difference between practicing answer to common interview questions and reciting a memorized passage. Think about your answers in advance, but don't try to recreate them exactly. Be confident and natural, and don't be afraid to take a deep breath, collect yourself, and give a well-thought-out answer.
Do: Research the Company Beforehand
Before the job interview, familiarize yourself with the company's products and/or services, the corporate culture, and the general philosophy of the brand. This proves that you genuinely want the job, not just a paycheck.
A job interview is a nerve-wracking experience, but nine times out of 10 you're overthinking it. Try not to build it up in your mind. Be confident in yourself, and learn from your mistakes. Recognize the value that you bring to the table, and sell yourself proudly. Finding a job often takes multiple interviews, so try not to get discouraged if the first one doesn't stick.
There's no guaranteed formula to ensuring success at the job interview, but being confident, polite, friendly and prepared goes a long way. Be the best version of yourself, and remember that the interviewer is a person just like you.
Photo courtesy of The Job Listing at Flickr.com