5 Steps to Nail Your Interview

by Stacie Waldman | May 1, 2020

You’ve made the decision to get back to work or to switch jobs. You sent out resumes and cover letters and used all your connections to your advantage and now you have a scheduled interview. Yay! Yikes? Whether it’s been a year or a decade since your last one, MomUp has tried and true tips for nailing the interview and landing the job.

The Prep
  • Research the company before your interview. Read their mission statement determine how hiring you will help them stay aligned with their mission.
  • Anticipate questions you may be asked. Review your own resume.
  • Make a list of adjectives that define you professionally and then think about how these traits would benefit their business. For example: “People describe me as analytical. I confidently make decisions, but I weigh the pros and cons before moving forward with something. It sounds like you’re looking for someone who can see the whole picture before making thoughtful decisions.”
The Wardrobe
  • Consider the type of job for which you’re interviewing. A classy, well-fitted suit flatters both men and women is always a winner. Save the sex appeal for a Saturday night out with friends. For face time interviews, you should still look professional.
  • Shoes should be polished and not worn out. You should look well groomed. Carry a small mirror and do a quick check of your teeth and face before your interview. (If we don’t tell you this, no one will!)
The Hard Copies
  • Bring a paper copy of your resume (letters of recommendation, etc.) on crisp, clean paper. If you’re meeting your potential employer over face time, ask for an email address beforehand to confirm receipt of your resume.
The Intro
  • Know your interviewers name. Greet them standing up and shake hands. People love hearing their own names.
  • Maintaining eye contact throughout the interview and having good posture will help you come across as confident.
The Interview Dos
  • Have questions prepared for the employer. Add to them if you can during the interview.
  • Be 10 minutes early. It will help with stress and anxiety. Anticipate traffic or public transportation delays and grab a cup of coffee if you’re very early.
  • Turn your cell phone OFF for the duration of the interview.
  • “Close the call.” A job interview is akin to selling yourself to the company that will be cutting you a check each week. Link the summation of what they’re looking for to what you will bring to them if they hire you.
The Interview Don’ts
  • Don’t fall for negative questions like, “What are your weaknesses?” Turn their negatives into your positives. For example, you could say, “I come from a business background so I’m always looking for ways to run meetings more efficiently. Sometimes the meetings I lead are shorter than people expect and they don’t have a chance to finish that second cup of coffee, but I’m a firm believer in maximizing everyone’s hours at work.” Keep your answers conversational but professional.
  • If asked why you left/are leaving your job, tailoring your answer intelligently can make you look like the superstar candidate. “I’m always looking for new challenges; upward movement is limited at my current job,” could be an answer. Don’t say anything negative about an individual or a company, ever.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Don’t talk about anything personal, including family. Be a professional and keep it professional.
The Follow Up
  • Within a day, write a detailed thank you note. Include what interests you about the job and a quick reminder of why and how you’re the ideal candidate to fill the position.

A job interview is an audition and should be treated like one. You need to be prepared, on time, confident and you need to stand apart from other candidates. You need to take control of all controllable factors.  If you aren’t offered the job, it was likely out of your control.  Maybe they went a different direction and hired a new graduate for less money, they delayed hiring or they just didn’t like your name because it reminded them of their high school bully. So, chin up, follow MomUp and forward march to the next!