6 Ways to Put Your Best Foot Forward in an Interview

Getting a job can be challenging.  It takes the perfect mix of background, preparation, appearance, and interviewing skill.  Each part of the process is important in its own right.  Overlooking any aspect of it can cause you to miss out on an opportunity.  Here are six things you can do to ace your next interview.

Dress to Impress

Your presentation shows that you respect the position, the interviewer, and the company.  Invest in a proper suit and suitable shoes with a modest heel (for women).  Be sure your accessories match the suit and are not adorned with a busy print.  Think understated and pleasant.

Groom Appropriately

Visible tattoos and multiple piercings, while popular in many social circles, do not fit well in business circles.

Even though technology firms are often owned and populated by Gen Xers and New Boomers, the companies they do business with still consist of Baby Boomers.  Professionalism rules the day.  A neat haircut and trimmed, clean nails will get you far.

Do Your Research

It is always important to know a little bit about the company you are interviewing for.  Having that information in your mind to use during the interview at appropriate moments will make you look prepared and interested.  For example, when you are asked if you have any questions, you might ask about a specific product in their line and how your role would interact with that product.

You could also ask about the management styles of the team and how the team and company lives up to it’s values. Be sure to know the values of the organization before hand.

Know Yourself

Confidence is important when you are in an interview.  Knowing what you have done and being able to speak about your accomplishments is something that many people have trouble with.  Practice talking about yourself and what you bring to the table before going to the interview.  Have a friend help you work out phrases to see how they sound.

You don’t have to go so far as preparing a script, but you should know your own background and future goals to be able to answer questions with confidence.  Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses is a good thing.  Is there a course you are looking into or are you pursuing inroads to non-profit leadership?  If so, mention them.  Showing interviewers that you are continuing to grow is a plus.

Be Professional

Professionalism means a lot of things.  Much of what the world finds acceptable has changed – now it is commonplace to find people on their cell phones while standing in line to pay for groceries where that was not so prevalent 10 years ago.  But while the outside world has become more accepting, business has not.  It is unprofessional to come into an interview with ear buds in your ears, texting, talking on the phone, drinking coffee, or otherwise turning your attention to something other than the task at hand.  Focus on what you are there for: a job.  Let all of the other distractions fall by the wayside.

Speak Clearly and Listen Well

There is no place for slang in an interview.  Period.  Be careful to speak clearly and bring each sentence to a definitive close.  Think back to English class and you’ll do fine.  Listening is equally important.  You must be quiet and still to understand the questions being asked so that you can address them properly.  The skills you show in this regard will say a lot about your work ethic and abilities.

Remember – your resume got you the interview.  The interview will get you the job.  Preparing ahead of time will differentiate you from the rest of the crowd.


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