What To Wear To An Interview
While many employers expect candidates to dress smartly, a growing number encourage casual wear at work, making it trickier than ever to choose an interview outfit.
What you’ll be expected to wear depends on factors such as the size of the company, the industry it operates in and the culture it promotes. For example, a small creative agency may have different standards to a major accountancy firm.
If you’re unsure on the dress code, ask before attending the interview. The key point to remember is that it’s better to be too smart than too casual. Only opt for a more casual outfit if you’re certain that’s acceptable – if there’s any doubt, go for smart business attire. Whatever you choose, make sure that your clothes are ironed and your shoes are clean.
For telephone and online interviews make sure you dress as though the interview is in person. Sitting in your tracksuit bottoms trying to act professional probably isnt going to go too well.
How To Ace An Interview
Career advisor Linda Spencer provides sound tips for excelling at your next interview.
An interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. In this video, Linda Spencer, former associate director the Office of Career Services and coordinator of career advising, provides sound tips for excelling at your next interview.
Landing an interview for a job or internship is an exciting momentbut one often immediately followed by dread. No matter your age or experience, meeting with a potential new employer can be stressful.
First, take a deep breath and remind yourself that simply securing an interview means youve met the basic qualifications. Next, put in some work to ensure that you make the best impression possible.
Linda Spencer, former associate director of career advising and programming at Harvard Extension School, is no stranger to the interview process. In this post, she gives her expert advice on how to ace an interviewfrom preparation to follow-up.
B Illegal Interview Questions
This goes without saying. Using one of these illegal interview questions to ask the interviewee can damage your employer brand at best and, at worst, you might actually run afoul of the law or even get sued.
The problem with illegal questions is that they often crop up in an interview without the interviewer being aware that theyre illegal. But, often, these questions are also personal and not job-related, so its easy to learn to steer clear of them. Here are some examples of illegal questions:
- How old are you?
- Are you a native English speaker?
- Do you plan to have children?
- Are you married or plan to get married soon?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- Have you ever used any drugs?
- When did you graduate?
These interview questions have the potential of illegally disadvantaging a protected group. For example, in the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warns against making decisions based on arrest records because this may cause you to unwittingly discriminate against protected groups. Similarly, in the UK, age is one of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. This means that a direct question about age, or even an indirect one might get you in trouble.
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Bonus Tip: Work On Your Answers
You know you can do the job make sure the interviewer believes you can, too. One way to do this is by preparing well-thought-out answers to questions they’re most likely to ask. Need some help with that? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll get interview tips, career advice, and job search insights sent directly to your inbox so you can come across as a strong, viable candidate. From ice breakers to the nitty-gritty , Monster’s expert advice can help you craft answers that highlight your skills and eagerness to get the job.
Look Your Interviewer In The Eye
In the online environment, eye contact is importanteven though it isnt true eye contact.
Instead of looking at the person on the screen, look directly into the webcam and stay engaged. It can be tricky to look at the camera when you see a person on the screen. But, looking at the screen will make you look like you are staring down .
If youve taken a selfie before, then you probably know the deal. But, somehow, video is harder.
Pro Tip: If you are uncomfortable, put a picture of someone you know up by the webcam. This way, you feel as though you’re chatting with a friend. If you have a webcam on a stand, you can even place it in front of the persons face to make this a little easier.
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Tips For During The Interview
After youve spent time preparing, you can be successful on interview day by practicing these tips:
9. Plan your interview attire the night before. If youre speaking to a recruiter before the interview, you can ask them about the dress code in the workplace and choose your outfit accordingly. If you dont have someone to ask, research the company to learn whats appropriate. For more, visit How to Dress for a Job Interview.
10. Bring copies of your resume, a notebook and pen. Take at least five copies of your printed resume on clean paper in case of multiple interviewers. Highlight specific accomplishments on your copy that you can easily refer to and discuss. Bring a pen and a small notebook. Prepare to take notes, but not on your smartphone or another electronic device. Write information down so that you can refer to these details in your follow-up thank-you notes. Maintain eye contact as much as possible. For more, visit What to Bring to the Interview.
11. Plan your schedule so that you can arrive 1015 minutes early. Map out your route to the interview location so you can be sure to arrive on time. Consider doing a practice run. If youre taking public transportation, identify a backup plan if there are delays or closures.
Tip: When you arrive early, use the extra minutes to observe workplace dynamics.
Tips For Before The Interview
In the days before your job interview, set aside time to do the following:
1. Start by researching the company and your interviewers. Understanding key information about the company youre interviewing with can help you go into your interview with confidence. Using the companys website, social media posts and recent press releases will provide a solid understanding of the companys goals and how your background makes you a great fit. Review our Complete Guide to Researching a Company.
2. Practice your answers to common interview questions. Prepare your answer to the common question: Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this role with our company? The idea is to quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the roleits your personal elevator pitch. Review our guide to answering Top Interview Questions.
Tip: You should come prepared to discuss your salary expectations. If youre unsure what salary is appropriate to ask for, visit Indeed’s Salary Calculator for a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry and experience.
Tips on responding to “Tell me about yourself:1. Start by discussing your current situation2. Work backwards by hitting key points along your professional journey3. Connect your background, interests and qualifications back to the job
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Tips For After The Interview
When the interview is over, give yourself the best chances of moving forward by doing the following:
20. Ask about next steps. After your interview, it is appropriate to ask either your interviewer, hiring manager or recruiter about what you should expect next. This will likely be a follow-up email with results from your interview, additional requirements like an assignment or reference list or another interview.
21. Send a personalized thank you letter after the interview. Ask for the business card of each person you speak with during the interview process so that you can follow up individually with a separate thank you email. If you interviewed in the morning, send your follow-up emails the same day. If you interviewed in the afternoon, the next morning is fine. Make certain that each email is distinct from the others, using the notes you took during the conversations.
How Not To Act In A Job Interview
Hiring managers appreciate job-seekers who come prepared for an interview. Yet a large number of potential employees go to interviews without basic preparation, such as researching the prospective employer, according to Accountemps, a worldwide temporary staffing firm. Lack of preparation before an interview can lead to mistakes and missteps during an interview. Take the time to adequately prepare to increase your chances of acing an interview and getting the job.
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Leave A Good Impression
The biggest mistake you can make is to assume the interview is over and make the first move towards leaving. Instead, William says, you should wait for a cue – “when the interview is over, the interviewer will make it clear”. You should then “thank them for their time, proffer your hand and leave as quickly as possible, but without rushing or tripping over”. William emphasises that the end of the interview is just as important as any other part, and perhaps more so because how you leave will be the last memory the interviewer will have of you – so make sure you conduct yourself appropriately.
For further advice, and to find out more about William, visit williamhanson.co.uk or
What Were You Doing In Your Employment Gap
Dont be afraid of employment gaps, despite the very real threat of unemployment bias they are justifiable. For example, you might have had a gap if you were studying or on maternal/paternal leave.
However, these are not the only reasons for a temporary break from work and sometimes these topics can be complicated. Check out our blog or more complex employment gap issues and how to explain employment gaps in your resume.
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Use Engaged Body Language
Similar to the power poses, using engaged body language during the interview is going to help you answer with confidence and energy. Even if the call is just over the phone, the right posture will help you sound more friendly, open and sure of yourself.
On the flip side, slouching can cause you to feel tired and want to be done. Crossing your arms or your legs will look like you arent fully engaged and can actually cause a kind of mental block that makes it hard to really take in the information.
Pro Tip: Make sure you are sitting up straight with your shoulders back and head up. This is something you will want to practice when you are getting your spot picked out. Make sure that your computer or camera is positioned at eye level, so you dont have to lean over or duck down to get in the frame. You may need to place it on a box or stand to get it to the perfect height.
Remember Your Table Manners
Some interviews may be conducted over a meal. All the basics of how to be polite at the table apply here:
- If your meal arrives first, wait to eat until others have received their food as well.
- Place your napkin in your lap.
- Dont talk with food in your mouth.
- Take small, manageable bites.
- Its best to not drink alcoholic beverages during an interview. If your interviewer orders alcohol, use your best judgment and stay within your comfort zone. You can always opt for a seltzer or soft drink.
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Understand Behavioural Competency And Situational Interview Questions
When preparing for a job interview, you should next make sure you understand how to answer job interview questions. To get to the motivations and working style of a potential employee, interviewers often turn to behavioural, competency, and situational interview questions to understand your behaviours and establish your core skills and competencies relevant to the role, such as teamwork, creativity and innovation, decision making ability, business awareness or conflict resolution.Behavioural and competency based interview questions usually begin with, Tell me about a time when or Give me an example of an occasion when Both behavioural and competency based interviewing are based on the idea that past behaviour can predict future action.
Sample competency based interview questions and behavioural based interview questions include
- Describe a situation in which you didnt meet your stated goal. How did you handle it?
- Describe a situation in which you took the initiative to change a process or system and make it better. How did you identify the problem? How did you go about instituting change?
- Describe a time when you were required to use your analytical skills to make an informed decision.
- Tell me about a time when you used your creativity to solve a problem.
Sample situational interview questions include:
Prepare Answers To Common Questions
Preparing answers to typical interview questions is a necessary step to dealing with job interview nerves. One of the major causes of anxiety before an interview is not knowing what questions, many of them are predictable. Be ready to answer questions like: tell me about yourself and where do you see yourself in five years?.
Go to the place of the interview beforehand
If you are prone to being nervous in a job interview, being late or having a stressful journey before the first interview can make the feeling worse. If you can, do a practice run to the place a few days before.
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Provide Next Steps And Closure
The final portion of the interview is providing the next steps for a candidate. Let a candidate know when they can expect to hear from you regarding a final decision, or the next step in the interview process. This is a candidates final impression of your company, so thank them for taking time out of their day to interview, and properly escort them off of your company premises.
Show Interest And Enthusiasm In Your Interviews To Get More Job Offers
If you follow the tips above you will seem more enthusiastic in your interviews, and more confident when you tell them about yourself and your skills.
The end result? Youll make a better impression and get more job offers.
Remember to practice these things before your next interview, though.
Many of the tips above require steady practice to form habits like your posture, eye contact, and your tone of voice and volume when speaking.
So dont wait until you need to turn it on at the last minute. Go practice in everyday conversations!
Thats the best way to show enthusiasm in an interview and get the job offer.
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Tie Your Answers To Issues The Company/interviewer Is Facing
Once you have background information on the company and any problems it’s facing, try to tie that information to work you’ve done. If you can come up with solutions based on work you’ve already done, you may make a great impression. You will have shown resourcefulness and initiative in doing research, then demonstrated the value you can bring to the company.
Whenever you can, quantify your accomplishments. Don’t just say, “I wrote a program that streamlined our inventory process.” Say, if you can, “My program increased inventory turnover by 15%.”
What You Can Do If Youre Asked A Question That You Think Is Unlawful
Even when a question seems off limits to you, when youre eager for the role it can feel difficult to refuse to give an answer.
Responding in a way that redirects the conversation may help. If an interviewer steps out of line and asks a question that is potentially unlawful, politely respond that you do not believe that the answer is relevant to your ability to perform the role, Hancock says. Depending on how the question was asked, this might be as simple as saying, Im interested to know how that relates to the role. Can you tell me a little more?
Ideally, this response will cause the interviewer to realise their misstep and withdraw the question. You can also use it as an opportunity to pivot the conversation towards the strengths that you do have that are actually relevant to the role.
But remember, whether youre an employee or potential employee, you dont have to answer a question that requires you to supply information that could be used to discriminate.
Hancock says you should stand firm if youre asked unlawful questions, and know that you can take legal action against a prospective employer if youve been discriminated against during an interview process.
Ultimately, what an employer asks you in an interview should relate to the job and how suitable you are for it. It can be uncomfortable to refuse or avoid a question, but knowing whats off limits and having a simple response at the ready can help you to feel more confident and in control.
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Tell Me About A Time You Overcame An Obstacle
Another one of my favorite questions. Interviewers ask this question to see if you are able to deal with roadblocks.
Things dont always go smoothly, so having people on the team who are able to solve problems has huge upside.
Being able to overcome obstacles is a great trait to have. Make sure you have a few stories about how something didnt go as planned that caused a challenge and how you were involved in solving the problem. Its a way of turning a bad situation into a good one.