How to nail a job interview

Finding out you landed a job interview is a wonderful feeling. All that time and effort you put into your resume and cover letter suddenly seems worth it, and it can feel good to know that an employer sees your potential. Once the initial excitement subsides, feelings of stress, anxiety, or doubt can kick in. What should I wear? What questions will they ask me? What should I do if I don’t know the answer to a question? Am I even qualified for this job? Feeling nervous before an interview is completely normal. Being fully prepared can increase the likeliness of landing the job and help ease anxiety. Below, we’ve outlined some tips on how to nail a job interview.

Before the Interview 

Do your homework. It’s a good idea to find out everything you can about the organization before the interview. Review their website. Read over the job posting and make sure you know exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate. Look into the people you’re interviewing with, know their titles and who they are. Check out sites like Glassdoor that can tell you what types of questions you can expect in the interview. 

Practice. One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to practice. Write down any questions an employer may ask you, including common interview questions. Take notes, but avoid writing down a script as you don’t want to sound too rehearsed. Then, practice with someone! Give a parent, a friend, or an SLC tutor the questions you wrote down, ask them to throw in some questions of their own, and have them interview you. Alternatively, set up an appointment with RMCAD’s Career + Alumni Services and they can further help you with tips on how to nail a job interview.

Pick out an outfit beforehand. Don’t wait until the day of to decide what you’re going to wear. Select an outfit that’s professional, but also comfortable. Take into account the organization’s culture as well. A suit and tie might be appropriate for one company, but pants and a sweater might be better for another.

If it’s a virtual interview, ensure equipment is working. Make sure the internet is on and your camera and microphone are working beforehand. Set your computer up so that your background is clean and uncluttered. Ensure you have a quiet space without distractions for the interview.

Know where you’re going and be timely. Confirm the location of the interview with the company, and ask if there are any specific parking instructions. If you’re able to, test out the commute. That way you’ll know exactly how to get there. Give yourself enough time to arrive early—it’s better to show up 30 minutes ahead of time than to be late.

Print out copies of your resume. Make sure to have several copies of your resume to give to the interviewer(s). Bring copies of your reference list as well. Make sure to have a pen and notepad to take notes. Keep everything organized in a folder or binder.

During the Interview 

Be polite and friendly. Your interviewers are not the only ones you’ll communicate with during your interview. You might interact with a front desk attendant, a janitor, or maybe even a customer. Remember that these are the people you’ll be working with, so it’s important to make a good impression on them.

Take your time. Resist the urge to rush through your answers, even if nerves take over. Don’t panic if you can’t immediately think of an answer to a question. It’s okay to take a moment to think before you speak so your answers are intentional and well thought out. 

Be yourself. While you want to present yourself in the best light, don’t attempt to be anything you’re not. Try to let your personality shine through so that interviewers can get a sense of who you are as a real person. 

Make eye contact. Remember to make eye contact with everyone when listening and speaking. 

“Interview” them, too. The interview as just as much of an opportunity for your to determine if you’d like to work at that company. Come prepared with questions to ask the interviewers. This can help show that you did your research and are taking the opportunity seriously. Use a notepad to take notes so you can refer back to it once the interview concludes.

After the Interview 

Send a thank you email. You might think that your work is done after the interview, but not. Remember to send a thank-you email within 24 hours. Thank the interviwers for their time, briefly reiterate why you think you’re a good fit for the position and ask them to let you know if there’s any other information you can provide. 

Implement these tips on how to nail a job interview, and you should feel better prepared for your next interview.

This article was written by Sophia Gish from The Student Learning Center (SLC). The SLC welcomes students from all programs both on-campus and online who strive to do better in the classroom while perfecting their craft. Along with Career + Alumni Services, the SLC can also help you practice for your interview! Self-schedule an appointment here and select “Interview Prep” from the drop-down menu or email the SLC at learning@rmcad.edu