Acing the job interview: Surviving the Interview

by Angie Solis, Head Editor, INALJ Missouri 

Acing the job interview – Surviving the Interview (Part 3 of 4)


AngieSolisIn Part one and two we discussed pre-interview prep and personal and professional interview prep. Both these articles were written to get you to this day. The BIG day! INTERVIEW DAY! So now that we’ve made it here it’s time to put all your preparation to the test and strut your stuff to any interviewer who has the pleasure of crossing your path.

Don’t forget that eating a healthy dinner and breakfast will help you to feel energized and healthy for the day. Make sure your outfit is ready and that all your grooming elements are under control. Definitely don’t forget the deodorant and for ladies make-up should be light.

At this point I’m going to stress managing your time before the interview. You want to know where you’re going so that you can get to the interview early and with time to breathe. Even with the best GPS it’s possible to still get lost. Check directions ahead of time to make sure you know the area you’re travelling to and where you need to go. As I said before, arrive early and leave yourself time to catch your breath. This is also an excellent time to read over your credentials and review those difficult interview questions that you’ve mastered by this time. Before you enter the interview location practice greeting the interviewer so that you can avoid fumbling over your words. Before you walk in be sure to do a sufficient mirror check to make sure everything is in place and you’re looking your best as well as turn off your cell phone or leave it in the car. Always remember that the moment you pull into the parking lot you’re “on stage” so your best you should already be on display.

This next step is the most important in the whole process. Knock ‘em dead! Take a deep breath and visualize yourself in this new position. Before you walk in, know who you’re meeting with. Walk in and be confident, honest, positive, professional and personable. Show your winning attitude and incorporate positive words and language when you speak. Be the best you and remember that all you can do is be yourself. Picture yourself as poised, assertive and articulate. Watch your non-verbal cues by making eye contact, having a firm handshake and keeping nervous ticks to a minimum. Keep your eyes off your watch and on the interviewer. Keep smiling and watch your body language like slouching. Slouching can make the interviewer feel like you are uninterested so make sure to keep your posture at its best. When greeted by the interviewer, make sure to stand up quickly and sit when asked to be seated. If no seat is offered then ask where you should sit. I know it may feel like going back to school but the little things can make the biggest difference.

Once the interview begins listen carefully to the questions and take a moment before answering – Keep the position in mind and formulate your responses to fall in line with the position guidelines. Be sure to smile and even use the interviewers name once or twice during the interview. You’ve prepared for this day so all the hard work is done and it’s now time to wow the interviewer. I wish there was a magical tip to give you to help you get through this part of the process, but there isn’t. From here on out its all you, so good luck!

Now that the interview is over, it’s time to make one last hurrah. Use this time to reinforce your strengths as a candidate and highlight why you’re the best candidate for the job. End on a high note by turning the tables on your interviewer. It’s not time to relax yet but it is your turn to be the interviewer. Remember from part 2 that you don’t want to ask too many questions as this may cause the interviewer to question you as a top choice for the position. Another tip is to never ask questions just to ask questions especially when it’s information that could easily have been found with a simple web search.

This is also not the time to ask about salary or benefits (save that for the offer) but it is the time to find out about the job and what you’ll be doing in this position. If you have specific questions about the job in mind, feel free to write them down and bring them in your portfolio. An excellent source for great questions for the end of the interview can be found on the same interview questions repository at This is an important step of the interview process so don’t take it lightly and remember that this is your chance to shine as well as find out valuable information about the job. Before leaving, if you haven’t already received one, get a business card and confirm next steps for or timing for a response.

Once this day is over I’m sure you’ll be cheering in the streets, until you realize that you have to wait for the call back. The interview is over but your preparation isn’t. Stay tuned next time for post interview tips to know what to do after you leave the interview.

As always, remember that you can find all the links mentioned here plus more on my Pinterest board, You’re Hired!

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