Acing the interview

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Post-college life means finding a job. Sadly, with a still-unstable economy, most are preparing for homelessness. However, an interview and how we follow-up afterward could be the difference between a cardboard box and a cozy apartment.

To have a successful interview, be sure to prepare yourself. Research the company and familiarize yourself with it.

Wear deodorant. It seems obvious, but it’s important. Interviews are nerve-wracking, you don’t want your identifier to be “the dude with the pit-stains”.

Make yourself presentable, with appropriate attire. You’re not going to a gala, but it’s also not a first date, or a county fair. For women, these rules also apply to your hair and make-up. I would suggest getting your hair out of your face so you don’t fidget with it, but French twists are so 90’s slutty secretary. Find the happy medium.

When it’s time for the interview, be likeable. I know, this seems like a given, but let me elaborate. Don’t try to please them, be yourself, but be the most confident and professional version of yourself. Bear in mind that professional does not mean stiff or uptight, simply appropriate. Sit up straight, make eye-contact, enunciate, avoid fidgeting, and most of all, smile. But only when it’s appropriate, this isn’t a pageant.

Don’t try to make yourself sound smarter than you are by using vocabulary you’re not used to. Eloquence does not require long words. Yes, it’s a good idea to up your diction slightly from your day-to-day vernacular, but don’t get crazy.

When the time is right, interview the interviewer. The CEO of Fino Consulting, Brian Fino, told Forbes that “[c]andidates who truly interviewed me and the company were at the top of my list.”

They’re giving you the job, but remember, you’re giving them your time, energy, and skills. You are valuable. They’re giving you money, but you’re giving their company a future. It’s a two-way street.

After the interview, you can and should follow up. Many hiring managers have reported that a well thought out, hand-written thank you card has been the deciding factor between two candidates. When you write your thank you card, keep it short and sweet. Thank them for the opportunity, express how nice it was to meet them, and end it in a way that allows for the conversation to continue. Don’t be presumptuous, but confident.

Interviews can be daunting, and knowing how to follow-up can be confusing, but just remember to be appropriate. If you go into the interview ready to showcase your best self, knowing ahead of time what you have to offer, you’ll have a great experience.

Ideally, you want your interview to result in a job offer, but that may not always happen. Approach each interview like a learning experience in itself. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, it’ll only make you nervous and throw you off your game.

Never underestimate how far a genuine smile and a firm handshake can go. Be confident yet humble, no job is below you. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so. Be appropriate, that’s key.