Now that we’ve gone through all of our preparation (which we killed, obviously), this is it. The big day. The day you wow your interviewer with your amazing knowledge of the company, acquired skills and professional experience, and your own dash of personal charm. That’s right, it’s time to ace your dream job interview.
Everything that we’ve done leading up to this point has been to put you in the best position possible to rock this. And now that we’re here, it’s time to go over some key strategies you’ll need to know (and do) to ace your dream job interview. Interviewing is as much an art as it is a science, the key is finding out the key components and then making them your own!
And now that we’ve gone over that, I have only one question for you . . .
Are You Ready to Ace Your Dream Job Interview?
1. Turn your phone off and look attentive and prepared.
Remember, eyes will be on you from the moment you walk into the building until the moment that you leave. If you want to ace your dream job interview, then you need to leave your best impression possible on everyone that sees you! Yes, this includes receptionists and office workers who won’t be interviewing you. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so make yours count! Chances are that other interviewees will also be present, whether that be for the same position or for other openings within the company, and you want to make the best impression out of all of them.
If you prepped like we talked about last week, your notes shouldn’t even be on your phone. Here’s why. Looking at your phone before the interview makes you look distracted rather than attentive, and often gives you a hunched posture that reads more “lazy” as opposed to “ready.” You won’t be able to look at your phone during the interview so make sure your notes are written legibly in your padfolio and review those before you’re called into the interview room. And remember to sit up straight! Not only will you look prepared, but you will be prepared because you’re taking the time to review your information, a critical factor to ace your dream job interview.Looking at your phone before an interview makes you look distracted rather than attentive and gives you a posture that reads lazy instead of ready! If you want to ace your dream job interview then put your phone away before you walk in… Click To Tweet
2. The way you greet your interviewer will set the tone for the rest of the interview.
It sounds strange, but it’s true. If you’re flustered and unprepared when you’re fetched for the interview, and thus when you walk into the room to meet your interviewer, you’re going to feel like you’re playing catch up for the rest of the interview. And that’s not going to help you ace your dream job interview. Make sure to smile, give them a firm handshake and introduce yourself. Generally your interviewer should introduce themselves first, so your greeting should go like this:
“Hello [interviewer’s name], nice to meet you! My name is Logan and I’m excited to be here.”
Always make sure to repeat your interviewer’s name back to them so that you’ll remember it when you go to leave! It’s a small personal touch that let’s your interviewer know you’ve been paying attention to them from the moment you walked into the room, and it will always work out in your favor. You’re also much more likely to remember it as you’re leaving the interview if you’ve said it at least once.
3. Mirror your interviewer’s speech length and inflection.
I’ve always known that I speak fairly quickly and that I enjoy going into detail when I speak, but it became a problem when I started interviewing for professional positions a year ago. When I would interview with someone who had the same candor and inflection in their speech we would hit it off immediately! But if I interviewed with someone who spoke more concisely or calmly, I would always leave the interview feeling like we hadn’t really connected. And when you need to ace your dream job interview, that connection is absolutely key.
I received the advice to mirror my speech with my interviewer during feedback in one of my interviews, and honestly? It was the best advice that anyone could have given me. By matching your speech pattern to your interviewer you ensure that you’re speaking for the correct amount of time and that you’re communicating on the same level of professionalism.
Because your interviewer will almost always tell you a bit about themselves before they ask you to do the same, this will be your best and most immediate opportunity to learn their speech pattern. For about how long do they speak? Into how much detail do they go? Do they talk about themselves personally, professionally, or both? How fast are they speaking, and what type of language are they using? This seems like a lot to analyze but in reality, once you know what you’re looking for, it’ll be very easy to spot and you’ll be one step closing to being able to ace your dream job interview.Mirroring your interviewer's speech length and inflection keeps your discussion at an appropriate level of professionalism and ensures you're communicating on the same level. It also helps prevent you from rambling! #careeradvice Click To Tweet
3. Cut out the casual language and filler words!
Pay special attention to what filler words you’re using as you speak and what words you’re using to convey that you’re actively listening. You’ll want to keep your “umms” and “likes” to an absolute minimum. This was perhaps the most difficult thing for me to adjust and in all honesty, I had to practice this with a friend! She and I would hang out in my dorm room and throw pens at each other if we uttered one of the filler words mentioned above, it was pretty actually pretty fun! I highly recommend it.
Also focus on replacing words and phrases that sound too casual, such as saying “that sounds so interesting!” instead of “that sounds so cool!” or “perfect!” instead of “awesome!” It’s just one small way to elevate your speech and make yourself sound more professional, which, depending on what industry you’re going into, could be crucial to help you ace your dream job interview. This is especially important if you interview over the phone or for a position that would be making lots of phone calls! Recruiters will be paying special attention to how professional you come across based on your tone, inflection, and word choice, especially since clients may not have the luxury of seeing your facial expressions or movements.Likes, umms, ahhs, and cools aren't winning you any professionalism points. Making an effort to cut out fillers and elevate your speech will help you ace your dream job interview! Click To Tweet
4. Be honest about your experience, enthusiastic about your accomplishments, and humble about your collaborations.
This sounds like common sense but can actually be one of the most difficult rules to follow. It’s one of the most important aspects to remember to really ace your dream job interview. Be honest about what you’ve actually done and what you haven’t! Now, I’m not saying not to embellish at all, but don’t say something or, worse, put something on your resume that could easily be fact checked. While you may think that your interviewer will never be able to check if you were actually a member of that student organization you cited so extensively on your resume, you never know who else in the office could actually fact check you. Getting caught in a lie like that is the most surefire way to not land the position.
When you are talking about your personal experiences, give credit where credit is due. Were you in charge of a team that put on an event where one of your team members saved your event money? While you have every right to claim that you were responsible for saving that money, since you were ultimately in charge of the decision-making, it’s much more impressive to hear “I collaborated with team of 8 people, of whom I was in charge, to come up with a solution which saved us X amount of money in comparison to the previous year” than “I came up with a way to save us X amount of money.” If you want to ace your dream job interview, you need to know how to frame things!
But remember, don’t sell yourself short! This is your time to shine and demonstrate to your interviewer that you’re capable, experienced, and accomplished, and you can only do that by truly selling what you have to offer.
5. Your interview should be an open dialogue, not a one sided conversation. Make sure to ask your interviewer questions as you go along!
Trust me, there’s almost nothing enjoyable about sitting and listening to someone talk about themselves for an hour straight. That’s no different in an interview, and if you want to ace your dream job interview, it’s something you have to remember. You should make an effort to ensure you and your interviewer are engaged in a dialogue, not a one-sided conversation.
[ Read On : How to Rock Your Campus Career Fair ]
So yes, you need to be asking your interviewer questions throughout the interview, not just at the end! These can be as simple as questions that encourage your interviewer to elaborate further on her point. They can also be some of the questions you prepared in advance if they naturally come up in conversation! But the point is to try to make your interview feel like as much of a conversation as possible. An equal give and take, if you will! You want both of you leave feeling like you each learned more about the other.Your interview is a dialogue, not a monologue; a conversation, not a soliloquy. Make an effort to learn more about your interviewer and you know you'll ace your dream job interview, and your interviewer will want you to come back! Click To Tweet
6. “So, do you have any questions for me?”
It doesn’t matter how many questions you asked your interviewer throughout the 30 minutes to an hour that you spoke with them, if you have time left at the end of your interview your interviewer will ask you this question. And no matter what, you always want to have questions ready to ask them (which is why you prepared them beforehand!).
Not only does this show preparation on your part, it also shows that you’re eager to learn more about the company’s history, the company’s trajectory, or your interviewer’s experience. You also get more information about the company that you could use to compare to other possible employers later on! But perhaps most importantly, asking thought-provoking questions that require more than a textbook answer will leave the best last-impression possible with your interviewer before you exit the room. Remember, this is the last thing you and your interviewer will talk about before you leave, so don’t end on the boring note of, “No, I think you answered everything!” This could even work against you in the interview. There’s no way you could know everything possible about the company or the position, so demonstrating that you want to learn more is key to helping you ace your dream job interview!
But don’t worry, I’ve gone ahead and done some work for you on this part! I’ve compiled a list of 50 of the Best Questions to Answer “Do You Have Any Questions for Me?” so that you never have to worry about running out of things to ask! I highly encourage you to take a look, take them with you, and edit them to make them your own so that you feel comfortable asking them!
7. Your exit.
This is your last chance to leave your interviewer with a good impression so it’s important that you do this well to ace your dream job interview. Remember how I said to remember your interviewer’s name at all costs? Well, this is why!
Have your exit sentence prepared, whether it’s “It was so great getting to talk to you, [Interviewer’s name], and I look forward to hearing more from [insert company here],” or “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, [Interviewer’s name], and I can’t wait to hear about the next steps in the interview process.” Make sure your statement is polished but that it also sounds like you! The last thing you want is for a sentence to come out of your mouth that makes your interviewer feel like you’re being disingenuous.
Before you leave, make sure to grab your interviewer’s business card so that you can contact them later. If they don’t have a business card on hand, ask them to write their information on a clean sheet of paper in your padfolio.
What are your best tips to help ace your dream job interview? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to share with a friend who is on the job hunt!