This article is part of The Diamondback’s 2021 Career Fair Guide. Click here for the rest.
Getting a job can be scary. Getting an interview can be scarier.
But at the end of the day, you are your own worst critic. Even if an interview goes poorly, it’s never half as bad as you think it is — and even if it is, the next one can only be better.
With interviews, it’s about trying to stay calm and collected. So, here are some tips for the next time you put on that blazer and try your very best to score that dream job.
Do: Dress professionally
Don’t: Wear sweatpants
You should definitely make sure to dress business-like for an interview with a future employer. Pre-pandemic, this might have been a no-brainer for people, but after more than a year of sweatpants and pajama tops, some of us need a reminder that for interviews — yes, even the ones on Zoom — you should dress nicely.
If you can, wear something that makes you stand out to employers so they have a way to remember you. They’ll most likely be talking to several candidates in a manner of hours, so wearing a colored headband or a toned-down yet patterned tie will help people identify you when they discuss your interview later on with other staff members.
Do: Initiate the handshake
Don’t: Wait for the employer to greet you
Going into an interview with a plan of how you’re going to introduce yourself avoids the awkwardness of waiting for the employer to acknowledge you. If the interview is in person, that means initiating the handshake — or opting for the COVID-19 friendly version of bumping elbows.
Do: Ask questions
Don’t: Talk too fast
Showing interest in the job and the company can help make the case of why a recruiter should hire you. That interest can often be established by asking questions. Ask what the day-to-day is like in the job and what the daily responsibilities entail.
Make sure not to speak too fast and to use professional language — you shouldn’t be speaking to a future employer the way you speak to your best friend. You want to impress the recruiter without trying too hard, so be conversational, ask questions and do your best to remain at ease.
Do: Be personable
Don’t: Reiterate your resume
An interview is the place where employers get to see beyond your resume and cover letter, so this is really where you can allow yourself to shine. Don’t just discuss your prior education or experience, as that’s all information they probably already know from reading your documents.
Tell the recruiter a story about your experience or explain to them in a personal manner why you want the position. It’s okay to admit if you’re nervous, but showing the employer that you’re comfortable and confident in yourself is incredibly important. If you show them you believe you’re a great fit for the job, they will too.
Do: Be yourself
It sounds cliche, but it’s all you can do. If an employer doesn’t like you, it’s not anything to take personally. There are a ton of jobs out there, and tons of candidates — and with this comes rejection. We all go through it, and while it’s not fun, it’s just another stepping stone closer to finding the right fit for you.