Ace the Interview with Personal Presence

This is a great time to grab a sweet summer job, or take a step up in your long term career. To help you out, here are the top ten tips for acing that interview with ease and grace: 

Dress the Part

There’s a reason why actors wear costumes. In order to feel successful and appropriately dressed, do a little research ahead of time to find out what type of clothing the company employees wear. It’s always best to err a bit on the side of more formal or tidier than the employees you may see heading in and out of the building when you pop by to check out the company. Don’t ask the person who calls you to set the interview – take the initiative to find out as much as you can on your own. 

Pay Attention to the Details

Once you’ve selected what to wear for the interview, make absolutely sure it’s clean, pressed, in good repair and fits you well. Clothing doesn’t have to be expensive to make a good impression – spend a little extra on alterations for the perfect fit and you’ll look like a million bucks. 

Choose the Right Bag and Shoes

For men and women, the bag and shoes need to match the level of formality of your outfit. There’s no point in carrying a beat up messenger bag when a clean leather (or faux) satchel would be a more formal match. Nothing shoots you down faster than shoes and a bag that are scuffed or stained. In your bag, have extra copies of your resume in a folder to protect them. 

Minimize Visual Distractions

Oversized jewellery, bright colours, things that sparkle and jingle or visible tats and piercings can cause the interviewer to focus on the wrong things. Though attitudes towards tattoos, piercings and fashion have relaxed over the years, it’s best not to show everything you’ve got in the interview. Again, err on the side of conservative in the first meeting. 

Monitor Your Body Language

Eye contact, a firm handshake, a calm posture and staying relatively still and relaxed helps give the impression that you are confident without looking overeager. If you can subtly match or mirror the body language of the interviewer, you can create rapport. 

Save the Oversharing

When nervous, it’s common for people to talk too quickly and say too much. Keep your answers concise, positive and clear. Avoid negative commentary about previous work, colleagues or any other situation. Keep it light and direct. 

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Aside from dressing well, getting to know the company and checking your body language and nerves, it’s worth doing a bit of practice. Wear the clothes you’ll wear for the interview, take the questions for a test run, Google typical interview questions and prepare your answers. You don’t need to memorize everything, but a bit of advanced knowledge and rehearsal will be to your benefit. 

Know Your Limits

Even with all your preparation, if you are asked a question to which you don’t know the answer, admit you don’t know instead of trying to bluff it through. If interview questions are mostly about you, you should be fine, but occasionally you might get a question about the company or the job itself that you don’t know. You can always suggest you would welcome the opportunity to find out more later. 

Don’t Apply for Jobs You Don’t Want

Don’t take an interview for a job you don’t want. Your lack of enthusiasm will show, and you will have wasted both your time and the interviewers. Nothing is worse than interviewing a candidate who clearly isn’t interested and nothing you can do with any of the first nine tips will help you overcome a genuine lack of interest. 

Sleep and Eat Well

Finally, get enough sleep and eat well on the big day. Give yourself more than enough time to arrive early to get oriented and take a quick peek in the restroom mirror so you can head into the interview ready to ace it.

Your personal presence is a big seller; with a short interview, recruiters are making decisions quickly, so use these tips to give them good reasons to hire you immediately.