Thursday, April 18, 2019

Ways To Make An Impression In An Interview

If you’re reading this, it gives me hope that you’ve finally finished reading yesterday’s lengthy yet informative blog post. In a hope to make these posts relatively linear, I figured the next post to share with y’all after focusing on job applications would be interview tips and how to make an impression. Hopefully, yesterday’s tips helped to land you an interview which is equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. After prepping myself for an interview, the next step is picking out an interview outfit. 


This dress from Persifor would be the perfect way to make an impression while still looking cute. I am definitely drawn to gingham, so it is no surprise that I loved this dress. Combining the print with a drop waist silhouette that I am also drawn to in a spring-y shade has me eager to wear it to work and church. While some jobs may require suits and therefore it would make sense to wear a suit to interview, I feel like dresses are a great way to show your personality while still looking professional. Since our office is more casual, I paired the dress with affordable tan wedges although for an interview I would likely stick to heels or flats. I can’t help but love the bow in the back that acts as an added detail while cinching the dress’ shape in a bit to make it more flattering. 


Aside from what you wear, there are plenty of ways to make a positive impression both during and after an interview. I think the only reason I feel relatively calm before interviews is because of sorority recruitment. Call me crazy, but it is great practice when it comes to learning how to talk to a variety of different people while selling your experiences to someone. When narrowing down my best tips for how to make an impression I was able to think of 5 that when paired together should help you to stand out as an applicant. 

Do your research
Although I’ve never been on the hiring side of an interview, I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to interview an applicant who has not done a fair share of research on the company and/or job they are applying for. If you’re a serious applicant then looking into details about a position is important not only to make a positive impression but also to get a feel for whether or not the position is a good fit (although you should probably be making that call before you start applying). When it comes to researching ahead of time definitely take a look at the jobs website, LinkedIn, and social platforms. While they only give you a glimpse, it is helpful to reference and help form questions to ask. I’d also recommend knowing the names and faces of the people who you suspect will be interviewing you. Greeting them by name when you go into your interview will give you some peace of mind and hopefully help you to feel slightly more at ease. 

Anticipate what will be asked and come up with answers ahead of time
While you may not be able to guess all of the questions that will be asked of you, there are some questions that you can pretty much assume. In most interviews, you’ll likely be asked what about that job made you interested, so there is no reason not to prepare in advance for that question. Glassdoor is a great resource to reference when trying to come up with potential interview questions as well since it contains reviews written by people who currently work for the company. It can also be used to search for jobs and attempt to gain a more concrete understanding of the salary you may be offered. Before I interviewed for the job, I have currently I wrote down any question that I thought could be asked and began to work through my answer. I’d like to think it would’ve been just as easy to answer on the spot, but I know that thinking through these questions helped me walk into my interview more confidently.  It also gave me time to work on my next tip…

Bring in something related to the job that the interviewers can keep 
One of the questions I correctly anticipated being asked was “what experience do you have with print publications?” Since I previously hadn’t had any, I decided to create my own experience by putting together a portfolio for the interviewers to keep that showcased different responsibilities required in the role while tying my blog to the magazine. I used the magazine as a resource while creating my print portfolio and included an example social media spread with captions, used blog articles with subjects that would fit into the various columns seen in the magazine, and also included my cover letter and resume. While it was time-consuming to put together, I like to think it helped me stand out and it was reassuring to see it in our HR directors folder with my information when I came in for my first day on the job. 

I know that not all of you are interested in the magazine industry so here are some other ideas of items that you can possibly bind with your resume and cover letter to leave with a potential employer (let me know if y’all would want a post with more details about the portfolio I made):

·     Teaching: Example lesson plan and resources to go along with them, USB of you teaching a lesson, letter from a student or parent showing the impact you’ve made

·     PR or Graphic Design: You likely already have some sort of portfolio online, but a printed version highlighting some of your best work would be great to leave with an interviewer

Write a thank you note and send it immediately after
I’m talking pack personalized stationery in your bag so that you can sit down someplace nearby to write the letters and mail them within the hour. Directly after my interview I went and sat down at a Starbucks nearby to write a personalized thank you note to each person I spoke to while at the office. I had stamps ready to go and mailed them off before driving home afterward. I know that this can seem a bit suck up-y, but it is a great way to continue to show the interviewers your interest and respect for their time (especially as they are making the decision). 

Form a connection
Just because it is an interview does not mean that you can’t be friendly and charismatic. Lighten the mood a bit by forming connections with the people you are talking to. From my 45 minute interview, I was able to piece together that one of my interviewers had a beach house near my family’s beach house, another one went to college at the same place where my mom went, and another had friends who were sending their children to the school I went to growing up. None of this was forced and came about from just being friendly. All of these connections help to better associate you with the people at the company and are great tidbits to mention in the thank you note you are sending to show your interest in the people at the company as individuals instead of solely showing interest in the job. Even if the connection is small, it is worth mentioning. After interviewing for a teaching job where the principal was a huge Clemson fan I was able to tie into the fact that I was an Alabama fan but was more than willing to look past our different football allegiances to work together as part of a team. After accepting a different job that principal still reached out to one of my professors to tell her how much of an impact being personable both in person and afterward made.  

Some questions on the topic that y’all asked:

Q: What’s the best way to greet a potential employer? 
Handshake. I can't imagine greeting a potential employer in any other way. Be sure to make eye contact while shaking their hand firmly and expressing your gratitude for them taking the time to meet with you. It may sound silly, but if you don't have a ton of experience shaking people's hands maybe practice with a friend ahead of time. 

Q: What do you do when they say they will be in touch and they don’t follow up?
This can be tough since sometimes it is because they haven't made a decision just yet. If they give you a firm date that they say they will be in touch and aren't I would wait a day or two and see if that changes. If they still haven't reached out I would follow up with an email explaining that you loved coming in to learn more about the role and meeting whoever interviewed you (use names). Maybe toward the end of that email say something along the lines of "I know that you had other interviews lined up and may still be in the decision process and look forward to being in contact soon." 

What tips do y'all have? I'd love to have you share them below!

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