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How to present yourself in an interview.

Introduction

If you’re applying for a job and need to interview, there is no one better than yourself to represent you in that meeting. While it’s important to show up on time and be prepared, your performance also depends on how well you present yourself and sell your skills.

Dress professionally.

Your clothing is one of the first things an interviewer will notice, so make sure you dress professionally. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. If you are interviewing for a position in an office setting, then wear business casual attire; if it’s at a construction site and they expect their employees to be covered in dirt and sawdust every day, then go casual.

T-shirts with offensive slogans or offensive graphics are never appropriate for interviews (even if they’re funny). For women: no flip flops or short skirts unless they are specifically required by your potential employer as part of their dress code (for example: waitresses at Chili’s).

Show up on time.

It’s important that you arrive at least 10-15 minutes early, as this shows your interviewer that you are reliable, punctual and responsible. If you find yourself running late, it is always best to call the person interviewing you and let them know. Arrive in a relaxed state of mind and dress appropriately for the job setting.

Have a good working pen and notepad.

Whether you are interviewing for an entry level position or a senior management role, it’s important to have a good working pen and notepad on hand. This will help you take thorough notes during the interview.

  • Make sure your pen has ink in it so that if you need to jot down something quickly during the interview, there is no delay while waiting for it to dry.
  • Have enough paper so that if you run out of space on any given piece of paper, there are still sheets left over for additional notes.

Research the company beforehand and reference the notepad for the questions to ask the interviewer. 

  • Research the company beforehand and reference the notepad for the questions to ask the interviewer. With a few minutes of research, you can learn about its history and track record. Be sure to mention any specific projects or products that interest you, along with how you relate to those things as an applicant.
  • Have at least three questions ready to make sure that your interview goes smoothly. This is your chance to show off your research skills, so make sure they’re good ones!

Bring 5 clean copies of your resume. 

The first thing any interviewer will notice is your resume, so it’s important to have several copies ready. Bring up to five-10 of them, if you’ve got them. You never know how many people will be at an interview or what kind of situation they’ll need it for—maybe someone needs a copy on their phone in case they want to look something up later; maybe another person wants one to keep in their notes from the meeting; maybe someone else wants a copy for reference when working on cover letters and thank-you notes later in the day. Maybe everyone wants one! Either way, always bring extras. Make sure those extra copies are clean and free of spelling and grammatical errors before handing them off—nothing says “I’m not prepared” like having multiple typos on your resume!

Make eye contact.

Eye contact is crucial. When you are speaking, look directly at your interviewer. Don’t look away too much, but also don’t stare them down; this can make the person uncomfortable and even nervous. Instead, maintain eye contact with them while they are speaking and when you speak (which should be most of the time). If you’re asked a question that requires some research or thinking to answer, then it’s okay to glance down at your notes for a moment before answering.

Avoid distractions. Focus on the interview, listen to what the interviewer is asking. 

  • Avoid distractions. Focus on the interview, listen to what the interviewer is asking.
  • Do not check your phone during the interview, text or call anyone else during an interview, eat or drink during an interview and if you need to use a restroom make sure that you tell them before hand so they don’t think it’s rude if you leave for no reason at all. Also do not be late for any part of the day including arriving early or leaving late because it will make them think negatively about you as a person and could hurt your chances of getting hired.
  • In addition, never be rude to anyone else in their office whether they’re sitting at the reception desk answering phones or are just walking by while talking with another employee who happens to work there too! The same goes for anything else that may distract others from doing their job properly such as loud music coming out through speakers around the office area (which would be distracting).

Practice your introduction with a family or friend before the interview.

If you are meeting with the interviewer in person, it’s a good idea to practice your introduction before you go. You may think that an informal approach will work best, but being too casual or informal can come across as disrespectful and unprofessional. Prepare your introduction, and practice it out loud with someone who doesn’t know much about the interview process, like a family member or friend. If possible, get them to give feedback on how you sound when saying your name and explaining why they should hire you (this is especially important if they have no idea what the job entails). This way, when it comes time for your actual interview day, you’ll be confident in front of whoever is staffing the front desk.

At the end of the interview, be positive and ask the interviewer for a business card for contact information. 

At the end of an interview, be positive and ask the interviewer for a business card for contact information. “Thank you” can sound too formal, but it’s appropriate to say something like “It was a pleasure speaking with you today.” If you have some way to follow up with them within 24 hours (such as contacting someone else they referred), that’s great, but don’t feel pressured into doing so.

Thank you note to the interviewer. 

Thank the interviewer and follow up within 24 hours with a follow up thank you note to the interviewer. Don’t forget to include your contact information in this note.

If you would like to receive more assistance in overcoming any of your obstacles that you are facing, we can definitely help. We offer Interview Preparation Session coaching and multiple coaching sessions so you can ace your next interview. 

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