Being the best candidate for a position can be very challenging in today’s over-saturated “applicant market.” According to Robert Meier, only 2% of applicants land an interview, so congratulations if you’ve made it to the interview – now you need to impress the interviewer even more. If you follow these 7 steps to a successful interview, you will complete your interview with confidence. All you must do is remember to “BREATHE.”
Personally, the thought of an interview strikes fear in me every time I know one is approaching. I cringe at the thought of being judged and rated by someone who might become my next important source of income. The pressure is nerve-racking and causes a lot of anxiety for me.
That anxiety used to hold me back from advancing in my career. However, over the years I have developed my interviewing skills from being overly anxious to becoming bold and confident! I’ve taken what I’ve learned and created the “BREATHE” method.
The “BREATHE” method will help you and others become confident and successful with every interview that comes your way.
B- Basic Preparation
Learning basic communication skills is crucial for your success. I’d like to heavily stress the importance of good eye contact and especially a firm handshake. In fact, your handshake will be the first and last impressions and you want those impressions to be strong ones.
To prepare yourself for a successful interview you might need to practice your handshakes and eye contact with family, friends or maybe even complete strangers.
Here are 5 ways you can practice your basic communication skills:
- Practice uninterrupted eye contact with family, friends, and strangers.
- Record yourself looking in the eye of the camera (for virtual interviews) and play the video back.
- Shake hands with 20 strangers firmly and take notice of how firm their own grip is.
- Practice speaking to more than one person at a time.
- Get involved with a public speaking association such as Toast Masters.
R- Research the Company
If you want to start a new career or are wanting to move to a different company you need to understand who the company is. In addition, you need to know their core values, their mission statement, and if you will fit into their culture.
Research everything that you can about the company before you enter the interview so that you have a leg up on the unprepared candidates. If you go into an interview and allow the interviewer to see your commitment to the company before you are even hired, you will look impressive to the hiring team. That simple research will go a long way.
At minimum, you should know these 4 things about the company before the interview:
- Core Values
- Mission Statement
- Current Projects
- Company Culture
A good place to find these answers are websites such as the company’s website, YouTube, and Glassdoor. Check out what other employees are saying about the company to get a good idea if this company would be a good fit for your life.
E- Eye-Catching Attire
You should never go into an interview looking like you just rolled out of bed. You need to look and feel like a professional. If you do not have an interviewing outfit I would suggest going and getting one. Here are some examples of eye-catching interview attire:
For men, I would recommend:
- A three-piece suit or polo and pair of khakis – depending on what the interview calls for.
- A clean shave or tidy facial hair.
- A fresh haircut and your hair neatly groomed.
- Fresh breath (Just trust me.)
For women, I would recommend:
- Natural-looking makeup.
- Hair pulled back neatly and out of your face.
- A women’s suit or slacks with a professional blouse.
- Fresh breath (Again, trust me.)
One thing that will always make me feel like a million bucks is a fresh haircut and shave. For men, it’s worth the trip to the barber. However, extra points if you can do it yourself (like me) and save some money!
The “E” in BREATHE is all about looking and feeling good so you can have a successful interview – so freshen up!
A – Admirable Introduction
When you arrive at your interview you need to make an admirable first impression. A bad first impression could be the death of an interview.
Here are 5 things you can do to ensure you have an admirable introduction:
- Have good eye contact
- Be the first person to greet
- Shake hands firmly
- Speak with confidence
Being able to perform these techniques in the first 10 to 15 seconds of meeting with your interviewer will give you a HUGE advantage during the interviewing process.
T-Test the Waters
Once the interview is taking place, don’t be afraid to test the waters and ask questions.
For example, some questions you might ask could be:
- “What does it take to be successful at your company?”
- “What is the opportunity for growth?”
- “What is your culture like at your organization?”
- “What is the salary range for this position?”
These types of questions convince the interviewer that you are serious about the organization, you think outside of the box, and that you are not afraid to take the lead.
Know which questions you want to ask before going into the interview. Don’t just reply with “I don’t have any questions” when the interviewer asks you at the end. You want to make your interest in the company known.
It can be tough sometimes to ask questions because you don’t know how they might respond. So, ask relevant questions related to your goals with the company and be prepared to receive the response.
You want to get all the questions and answers out on the table so you can get a good feel for the organization and if the company is truly the right fit for you.
H- High-Quality Closing
Now it is time to close the deal! End the interview strong by telling the interviewers how much you appreciate the chance to interview with the organization and how you look forward to hearing from them shortly with the decision to go forward in the process.
Continue to make good eye contact, give them a firm and confident handshake, and give salutations.
Be sure to have all the contact information (phone numbers and emails) you might need to follow up with the company.
E- Excellent Follow-up
The last step in this 7-step guide to successful interviewing is the follow up by phone or email 24 hours after the interview. You need to restate to the hiring team how much you appreciate the opportunity for the interview. Ask if they have any other questions for you and tell them you look forward to hearing from them about their decision to go forward in the hiring process.
Therefore, successful interviewing can be easily accomplished if you just remember the “BREATHE” method. First, you need to learn the basics of communication. Then, you research the company and gather your questions. You also need to practice your first impressions and how to close the deal with the interviewer. Lastly, don’t forget to follow up on the next business day.
Follow these 7-steps to a successful interview and you will be sure to win an interviewer over and get the job that you want.
The next time you are face to face with an interviewer, your confidence is going to be much higher – if you just remember to “BREATHE”.
By the way, if you are undecided on a career check out, “20 Enjoyable Careers that Make Over 75K.”