Acing the Interview

Section Three: Acing the Interview

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

First impressions are made when the interviewer greets you. It is unacceptable to be late for an interview, so you may want to drive to the location before the interview to allow for route familiarity. For Service Members: dress up in the same way you would wear your dress uniform for inspections. Notice what people in the company wear and dress appropriately for the job and location. It is important to be clean, neat, and professional. If you are confident about your appearance, it will translate to your body language. Be sure to bring a copy of your resume, notepad, and a pen to take notes. In the video to the right, observe as Daniel participates in an interview with a potential employer. Do you think he is using good body language? Why or why not?

Your non-verbal communication is just as important as your verbal communication.

Body language gives off non-verbal information about you and can help show enthusiasm. This can apply to phone interviews as well. Stand or sit up straight when on the phone because your body language is reflected in your voice. A firm handshake and natural eye contact are important in making a first impression. Posture can indicate your level of interest by showing you are attentive. Sit upright or lean forward slightly when the interviewer is talking. Try to keep your knees together, feet flat, and your back straight. Rehearsing in a mirror may help you be aware of nervous habits. In the video to the right, observe as Daniel participates in a second interview with a potential employer. Do you think he is using good body language? Why or why not?

The “30-second commercial” is a greeting that encompasses your professional story.

The 30-second commercial is meant to sell your strengths and skills to the employer. First, create a greeting that includes your first and last name. Then list your experience in specific industries and jobs. Next are the areas of expertise that you have acquired, such as major job functions and skill categories. Then, list your strengths and accomplishments. Finally, explain your job search strategy and what you are interested in doing with your experience. Practicing your 30-second commercial will make it more natural when you tell someone about yourself. In the video to the right, observe as Daniel delivers an effective 30-second commercial to the interviewer.

Following up after an interview will help you stay in the running for the position.

Last impressions are just as important as first impressions because they will determine whether or not the interviewer will remember you. End the interview with the same professional body language that you began with. Keep your head up, smile, and maintain eye contact. Ask your interviewer for a business card and ask what the next step will be. When you go home, be sure to send a thank-you note either by email or mail. This is an opportunity for you to give additional information and restate your interest in the position. Take the time to analyze your performance - note where you could use improvement in your next interview and what you did well.