1. Research, research, research.
While this may seem obvious, it is important to know what the position you are interviewing for entails. Try to look at specific projects that the company has accomplished and developed an understanding of their mission. This general information can usually be found on their website, but you need to know why you want to work for this company. In addition to having strong background knowledge on the company, if possible try to research the person interviewing you. People love receiving recognition for their work, so if there is a project you liked that the interviewer worked on, mention it.
2. Look the part.
Make sure you dress to impress. However, at the same time, do not come dressed in business formal attire for a casual interview at a coffee shop. It is important to always put your best foot forward, so do your best not to wake up ten minutes before the interview starts. At the same time, do not completely miss the mark with the company’s culture while interviewing. If they are very relaxed, maybe do not wear a business formal outfit.
3. Come ready for battle.
Bring a resume, questions, and prepared answers. It is important to make sure you have everything you could potentially need, whether that is a few extra resume copies or a portfolio of your graphic designs readily available. Looking unprepared is very unprofessional and not a good first impression.
4. Five minutes early is on time, on time is late.
This daunting quote is one that a photographer for the New York Times told me as I was working with him. It is not about doing your best to show up on time, it is making sure you show up early. Whether it is leaving twenty minutes early to go somewhere ten minutes away or taking an Uber as opposed to the bus, punctuality is key when going to an interview. Arriving late due to unpredictable obstacles such as filling out paperwork before the interview or getting lost on your way to an office can easily be avoided by leaving a buffer period of five minutes.
5. Fake it until you make it.
No, do not make stuff up in an interview. By this, I mean act confident. Shake the interviewer's hame firmly, make a lot of eye contact, and sit up straight. Body language is very important during an in-person interview and can hurt or help your odds at snagging the job. It is completely normal to be nervous, but try to fake it until you make it.
While yes, the interview is mainly about you, listening is still important. You need to listen to the questions to ensure that you are truly answering the question they asked and not misinterpreting it. Also, listening shows respect. If you are not engaging with the nonverbal cues of head-nodding, eye contact, and other movements that indicate listening, it appears as though you are unengaged.
7. Know your why.
Make sure you have the rhetoric and clarity to articulate why you would be better than the other candidates. Do not put them down, but find a few traits that make you unique compared to your application pool. Why are you dedicated Why are you curious? Why do you want this job? Why would you be the best candidate? You need to sell yourself, but at the same time do not come off too cocky or forced.
8. Want to be there.
We all have bad days, and sometimes as unfortunate as it is, a bad day can happen hours before an interview. While life happens, still try to act engaged and excited to be interviewing for a company. I remember hearing a speaker say that they spend more time with their work team than they do with their wife, so he hires people he likes. If you wear a frown throughout the whole interview, odds are against you in terms of getting the job, so try to stay positive.
9. Ask questions.
Yes, the interviewer is asking you questions, but make sure you ask some in return. It shows you are engaged throughout the interview as well as interested in the company. This requires making sure you have done your research but do not miss the chance to gain clarity about the company or job.
10. Follow up.
Whether it is through snail mail or email, you must remember to send the interviewer or company a thank you note after the interview. They gave you the time of day to interview you. Not only does this show you are gracious, but it will also act as a reminder to the interviewer of who you are. It is a win-win situation.