How to Leave a Good Impression on Your Next Job Interview

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If you are like me, job interviews can be stress-inducing, and you’ll probably worry the most if you’ll leave a good impression and if you’ll even be able to go through them because of your stress. 

Luckily for you (and me), I’ve worked hard to overcome those obstacles and researched a lot on how to leave a good impression through presenting yourself as best as you can and how to prepare for it and lower your stress beforehand mentally.

Get to know yourself

If you want others to know you, you need to know yourself first. So what I’m trying to say, without this philosophical BS, is to go through what you want to say about yourself, your experience, your hobbies, and most importantly, your ambitions and expectations from your employer (I’ll cover this more later).

Here’s a list of the most frequent things employers asked during the interviews I had:

  • My past experience?
  • Projects I’ve worked on?
  • What I’m good at?
  • The most stressful situation I’ve been in and how I handled it?
  • What do I do in my spare time?
  • What are my hobbies?
  • What did I find interesting about them to make me apply for the job?

Before the interview, try to relax and do something inside your comfort zone, what usually keeps you calm. Many psychological things affect your mind, even unconsciously. Don’t get dressed right before the interview. If the interview is online, have the interview in a room where you usually relax, like the living room. If the interview is at the company premises, arrive 20 minutes earlier.

I’ve read somewhere that getting accustomed to the area around the building where the company is, makes you less stressed because your brain will stop associating the area with this stressful situation you are currently in. If there are people around the building, do small talk. If you’re not that kind of person, hang around and admire the area, smile and count stuff you like about the area.

A thing I also noticed is that employers like honesty. So be honest about yourself and your experience and competencies. Don’t overhype yourself, or you’ll end up in a position you won’t like. If you make an image about yourself where you have more experience than you have, your employer will have much higher expectations from you, and tasks you’ll get will be harder, and you might not be able to finish them or finish them on time.

Get to know them

This is probably the most crucial part of leaving a good impression.

Let me first tell you this. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how “desperate” you might be, and you can still have expectations, wishes, and goals about your future job and employer. So don’t let anyone tell you and make you feel bad for not taking a job when you are unemployed if you didn’t quite like the employer.

Having your expectations from your employer is what most companies value. It means you are not someone that is desperate and will take any job no matter what. Instead, it means you are interested in them and would like to work with them, and you are considering them because of what they are and offer. Employers want attention as much as you do. They want to feel not just that you want to work for them, but they also want to think that you like them.

First thing you should do before an interview is to research what they do, what benefits they offer, company culture and tone of voice, recent news, and blogs, interesting facts, etc. Take out from all that info what you liked and found interesting. The second thing is to make a list of questions you’d like to ask them. I’ve done quite a bit of research on what are good things to ask and what will make you sound interested in them and leave a good impression. Here’s the list:

  • What do you expect from me in the first month, after 3 months, and after 6 months?
  • What does one typical day look like in this position I’m applying for?
  • Will I have a mentor, and do you have onboarding processes?
  • Do you offer education?
  • How is performance measured, and how does the promotion process work?
  • What benefits do you offer?
  • What kinds of projects do you take?

Besides those questions, ask anything specific for them.

Remember this! The worst thing is not to have any questions at all! The job interview is a dialog, not an interrogation. Just as a company chooses a candidate, you select the company you will work for.

Rebound

Sometimes the interviews won’t go as you expected, or the outcome won’t be as you wanted. If they don’t hire you or advance you to the next round, it’s not your fault. It’s not their fault either. They were searching for someone with a different skillset and experience than yours, or they DID want to hire you but didn’t because they didn’t have resources to allocate to educate and invest in you.

Not everything is in experience and knowledge. Many companies like to maintain a particular “atmosphere” within the company and want to hire a person based not only on their knowledge and experience but also on their personality. A person can be the smartest person in the world, but who cares about that if they are a jerk. That’s why companies also look into your personality and evaluate if you would be a cultural fit.

That was one aspect that you have to remind yourself of when the outcome was negative - the psychological aspect and how to keep your chin up. The other aspect is how you can improve experience and skill-wise.

That’s where feedback comes into play. Always ask for feedback. If they are broad about it or they give you quick feedback…GG no RE, you just saved yourself from a feedback-less environment where you would never improve and learn more. If they give you feedback, work on that! Even if the feedback is specifically for that company’s assignment, you’ll still learn something new and do better next time on some other assignment.

Thumbs up, let’s do this!

Don’t let yourself be put in a position where you’ll start to think that you are not worth too much or don’t know anything. Someone out there is looking for a person that the mix of your personality, competencies, and experience are fit for the job. If you don’t get the next job, GG, go next! 

Learn from your past experiences, and don’t let go of your dreams! Don’t listen to people saying that you are not really in a position to “demand.” 

You are not “demanding” anything! You don’t want to work a job you won’t be happy at! Not everything is in money! So get out there and knock their socks off! I know this blog probably hasn’t solved your problems, but I hope it helped a bit.