Real World Reality Check: Ace Your Interview

So you landed an interview for what seems like your perfect job… that’s great! Unfortunately hearing back from a company is only half of the battle; you still have to ace your interview. Here are some tips to help you impress during your interview and land your dream job!
1. Practice answering common interview questions out loud. Have you ever answered a question and then wished you could tweak your answer after you were given time to think about it? By practicing ahead of time, you can edit your responses to perfection! Use this list of 100 interview questions to practice answering common questions, prepare responses, and take notes on what you want to say (you can bring those notes with you later!)
2. Research the company and the position. Chances are that your interviewer will ask if you know what the company does and ask you why you want to work for them. Knowing the company’s history, what they do, and what your position’s main goals are will show your interviewer that you put in time to learn about the company and the position and that you are genuinely interested in the job.
3. Know what questions you want to ask. Interviews always end with the opportunity for you to ask the questions. Believe it or not, this part of the interview is just as important as the rest of it and it can shape (and change) your interviewer’s opinion of you. Forbes has an article about questions you should and should not ask in an interview. Asking about the skills needed for the position, who you would be reporting to, and typical work days are all appropriate and show that you are interested in asking about more than salary and vacation time.
4. Bring a notebook and pen. It shows you are organized and come prepared, you can write down notes that you will want to remember later, and you can reference notes that you took beforehand.
5. Make sure you bring a few copies of your most recent resume as well as supplementary materials. You never know if the interviewer had time to print your resume or if you are meeting with more than one person; bringing multiple copies is always a good idea! As far as supplementary materials go, bring anything that will impress your interviewer and will show off skills that will be beneficial to them if you get the job. If you are a writer, bring writing samples. If you designed/organized some kind of display or show, bring a photo. If you created some form of media such as a brochure for your last company, bring a copy.
6. Dress nicely! Figuring out the perfect outfit for an interview may seem hard, but the key is to dress how you imagine the typical “office outfit” to look. Nice pants and a button down shirt are a traditional way to go or you could wear a nice dress. As long as you are dressed professionally, are wearing clean and unwrinkled clothes, and are not showing a lot of skin, you should be good to go! (And remember this classic tip: if you doubt an outfit, you probably should not wear it!)
7. Leave yourself plenty of time to arrive. Showing up on time shows your interviewer that you are punctual, plan your time well, and that you are respectful of their time…you definitely do not want to show up late! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there, leaving time for traffic and other unforeseen delays. You should also be sure to look up the address beforehand and make sure you know where you are going!

Most importantly, remember not to get nervous. Interviews are all about talking about what you know best: yourself! Remember that you know everything about yourself and your old job and why you want the job you are applying for. As long as you follow the above tips, you’ll be celebrating your new job in no time!

What are your favorite interview tips? Tweet us @UChic and share them with us!

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