Applying for a new job is one step, but going to the interview is even more challenging and often stressful. Especially when the job you're applying for is one that you have always wanted. How to prepare and what to wear? I will give you a few tips to go well prepared and confident to the interview with your future employer.
Do not underestimate the preparation
Very often we are too busy doing what we are doing and we postpone preparing for our interview. Without preparation, you are set up for failure. My motto here is to do as much as possible to be well informed about the company and job you are applying for. At least then when it doesn't work out you won't feel regrets about your performance.
1. Be in the know about the company
This is maybe the simplest one of all. Check their website, read about the company and write down some bullets with facts and good-to-knows. Of course they will inform you during the interview what the company is about and what they stand for. But you will make a great impression when you can fill them in at some point in their story. Even something like "Ah yes, I read the company was recognized one of the most sustainable last year". Show them your interest in the company and the achievements.
2. Look representative
This might sound obvious, but believe me, people do not take this seriously anymore. Nowadays businesses are quite informal, but you do not know that from the start. Now, I am not saying you should overdress. However, a well-put-together outfit, a nice bag and represented shoes already make a difference. Maybe you feel comfortable suiting up, or maybe you just like to wear a nice pair of pants and a decent looking jacket. Whatever you put on, make sure to look representative and feel comfortable. The latter is so important, as you do not want to feel unpleasant or awkward during your interview.
Prepare your outfit the day before the interview. Make sure it (still) fits well and that you have the matching accessories by hand. Like your bag, shoes or belt. This will make you feel much more organized and avoids last-minute stress on what to wear.
3. Bring your 'interview goodies'
Besides dressing well, make sure you bring the things you need: a pen, a notebook (with notes and questions), and maybe even a printed version of your resume. It happened to me that another person from the company side joined the company spontaneously and I was able to hand him a copy of my resume. Not how it should be, but I sure made a good impression as I was well prepared.
4. Get your questions right
Earlier on I pointed out to make some notes about the company. Even more important is to prepare some questions. Based on the information you read or just some things you might want to know before accepting an offer. Because we should never forget that the selection process works both ways. Just as they want to know who they are hiring, you also want to know what kind of company and culture you will be committing to.
In short, not having any questions for a future employer is impossible. Make sure to not only prepare to answer their questions, but also let them answer yours. This shows interest and passion for what you stand for and what is of importance to you.
5. Remember your resume and what key elements you want to point out
After 10 plus years of work experience, there is so much to tell and to point out. But here again, preparation is key. When you know what type of profile the company is looking for and when you understand their core values, you can highlight the most important skills and experience from your resume. They might not be interested in every single detail that you've learned along the way. Be specific about what you are going to reveal and what matters to them.
Last but definitely not least, pay attention to your body language and posture. Sometimes when an interview goes well and smoothly, we start to feel comfortable. But whatever you do, do not lose your awareness of what your posture looks like or what your body language is sending off. I once interviewed someone who sat in the chair as if she was drinking tea at her friend's place. No matter what, you are there to show your best.
Sometimes it is even a good idea to mirror your interviewer. This maybe sounds a bit weird but unconsciously this is creating empathy and a connection between people. If you get nervous easily, fold your hands together while they are talking so you won't be moving too much or give them an anxious impression. In case you have the tension to move a lot, try practicing moving your toes in your shoes. That way no one will ever notice your nervousness.
Be confident, prepare well and make a great first impression. You got this!