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Having a great resume doesn't mean you'll get the job, especially if you tank the interview. No matter how great of a job you do filling out the application, no matter how much interest in the position you express, it's all for nothing if you show up and have the personality of a cadaver. Now, you don't have to be Richard Pryor, but it would go a long way toward landing the job if you came across as somebody other people would want to be around.
What do they care most about? What do they want me to say? Relax, the employer probably wouldn't have even called you in for an interview if they hated you on paper, so know in the back of your mind that he or she wants to like you. They hope they like you — their job will be that much easier if they do.
Of course you can still blow it, so it's best to come prepared with some selling points about yourself. Maybe even a joke. If they laugh it's probably a good sign, but remember to keep it relatively on brand for the position your applying for — no need to be needlessly edgy. What I'm saying is, you know, read the room. Employ these first job interview tips and hopefully you'll become employed yourself.
Be on Time
I don't subscribe to the school of thought that thinks you should show up needlessly early for an interview. The company is working and you showing up is taking time away from that. So, show up when they are expecting you.
A few minutes early in most cases should suffice — just make sure you know where you're going, and, obviously, don't be late. Showing up on time should be one of the easier first job interview tips to pull off.
Do a little bit of research. It'll take ten minutes and will help you come across as somebody who gives a shit. No need to be an expert — obviously you don't work there yet — but try to at least know some things that can easily be Googled.
This is basically a simple IQ test, and in most cases coming up with a few coherent answers should help you get hired.
Gather Your Thoughts
Gather your thoughts the day before the interview. Say whatever you plan on saying out loud. How do you sound? Basically, this is just a little reminder to practice — one of the first job interview tips that is often overlooked.
Again, relax, this is just a little elevator pitch, not a monologue. Try to keep it short and tight to avoid the person interviewing you from nodding off.
This is where a little bit of research will help. Think about what kind of job it is that you applied for. What kind of company is it? What's the culture?
These days, it's generally acceptable to dress a little bit more casual, but for Christ's sake put on a collared shirt and some chinos.
Don't wear shorts, and I probably wouldn't wear sneakers, either. Dress a little bit nicer than you would if you actually got the job. This is one of those first job interview tips that will help clear your mind so you can focus on what's actually important — the job.
Now, I'm not going to make you feel better about this one and say it's not that big of a deal — it's crucial. Make eye contact, have a little bit of confidence in what you're saying. This is one of the first job interview tips that encapsulates most of the other tips that have come before it.
Showing up on time and having research in the bag makes a good first impression. Remembering people's names can make a good first impression. This isn't complicated stuff, just being present in that moment is really all it requires.
Keep It Going
You've made a good first impression... great! Now is not the time to drop an f-bomb or start acting like you're with a couple buddies at the bar watching a Knicks game. Complete the process.
Remain confident and continue to answer all the questions thrown at you in a confident and friendly manner, but don't get complacent – NO JOB HAS BEEN OFFERED. You might leave the room and they may go, "wow, what a dick." You won't be sure if they actually like you until later, so be somewhat professional.
This is tied in with many of the other first job interview tips, but it's still really important and should be stressed on. Body language is key in any interaction among human beings.
Of course, you're likely to be a little anxious, and believe me, your interviewer will be taking that into consideration. Normal nerves will not be a red flag on any kind, but just don't be squirming around so much — it'll make them think you're on drugs or something.
Stick the Landing
You're going to want to get the exit right if you want to land the job. Be nice, smile, shake a few hands. Leave them wanting to see you again, but don't linger in hopes of making a connection.
Get in your car and drive home. There isn't a whole lot more you can do at this point. Don't torture yourself either — it most likely went better than you think it did.
In the coming days you should reach out to whoever interviewed you. Thank them for the time and leave it open ended — hopefully you'll see them again.
Getting a job is a numbers game, and following as many of these first job interview tips as you can will bolster your odds of getting that dream gig.