9 ways to make a lasting impression in your next interview: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

If you’re looking for a job and have recently been offered an interview, congratulations! Interviews are an important part of every job search and companies won’t offer you one if they aren’t interested in potentially hiring you.  Wherever it takes place—in the office, online or over the phone—every interview offers you the chance to captivate your prospective employer and convince them that you’re the best hire for their company. There are many ways to make a lasting impression in your next interview, and we are giving you The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of how you can be remembered in an interview.

The Good

Being personable– Hiring managers are not looking for rehearsed answers to their questions. A common interview question is, “Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know from your resume,” and if you’ve only memorized your resume word for word, you’ll have more difficulty connecting with your interviewer. Not to mention the fact that, if you are overly-scripted, you may lose your normal social graces and forget how to respond to basic questions about yourself.  Questions like, “So tell me about where you grew up,” or “How do you like school?” are not meant to trick you!

Knowing the company- We know that people love to talk about themselves, but don’t forget that people also love to talk about where they work.  If you really want a job, you better research the company and be ready to ask questions specifically geared towards the firm. Try to venture beyond the “About Us” page and read any recent articles featuring the company. Saying, “I was really impressed by the recent article about… could you talk a little more about it?” can make a huge impression.

Showing enthusiasm- You worked really hard to get an interview, so don’t let anything get in your way. Even if you sat in traffic for the last hour or changed into your suit in a dirty airport bathroom, disguise all negative energy the minute you walk through that revolving office door. If you are enthusiastic about the position, the hiring manager will be excited to hire you. And don’t forget, a smile goes a long way with each person you meet.

The Bad

Being late– Never be late. In fact, always be 5-10 minutes early. No matter how incredible your interview is, it is nearly impossible to recover from strolling in late. Of course some delays are not in your control, but plan ahead because not many excuses will get you the job.

Your phone going off- Before you enter the building silence your phone, or better yet, turn it off. Not only will your interviewer lose patience with you, but you will lose the flow of conversation if you have to stop and silence the marimba ringtone blasting from your bag. If your phone goes off, that is what your interviewer will remember—not the fantastic conversation you had about what a great fit for the company you were.

Dressing inappropriately- Some say that a Millennial’s biggest interview mistake is dressing inappropriately. Do not dress for a night on the town, or an afternoon watching the game with some of your friends. As a rule of thumb, always err towards being more formal. You can absolutely express your personality through your outfit, but remember that your outfit is a reflection of the level of respect you have for the company. Save your baseball cap or tight dress for another time—maybe even for your celebration once you get the job!

The Ugly

Forgetting what is on your resume– Do not lie on your resume, and even if you didn’t lie, be sure to review your resume in advance to be sure that you know everything on there and that it is accurate. One candidate claimed Spanish fluency on his resume and half-way through the interview the hiring manager switched languages. The candidate confessed his Spanish fluency did not extend passed “hola” and needless to say, he did not get the job.

Yawning- A yawn can say a lot: you could be a party animal who was out late at the clubs, you could have poor time management skills and just started preparing the night before, or you simply could just not care. No matter what way it is interpreted, yawning is only bad news during an interview. Easy solution: get a good night’s sleep, grab a coffee in the morning, and do a little bit of exercise before your interview. Yawning equals apathy for interviewers, and no one wants an apathetic candidate.

Mixing up companies you’re interviewing with- You may have four different interviews scheduled in one day, whatever you do, DO NOT mix up the companies you are interviewing at. If your fourth interview is with a hedge fund, and you start talking about your dream of working for a private equity firm, you will not get the job. A great way to handle multiple interviews in a day is to prepare notes on each company that you can review going from one office to the next.

Interviews are a great way for both a company and a candidate to know if the position is a good fit. Use your next interview as a chance to shine, but be aware of these Dos and Don’ts during the process. It’s easy to make a strong impression—now make sure you make a great one!