Top 10 Interviewing Essentials

Looking to get a new job? Well, we have ten interview tips to help you achieve your goal. At Palmer Group, we provide free interview preparation training for thousands of individuals, and we work with hundreds of hiring managers to learn what works and what doesn’t. Below we’ve compiled what we see as the most essential factors to consider when preparing for an interview.

  1. Do your research

    Learn everything you can about an employer and the job you’re interviewing for prior to the interview. This may include company history, current company news or press releases, reviews by former employees, or any other source of information you may find on the potential employer. At the very least, you should browse the company’s website and social media, or perform a quick online search to learn anything that might help you connect during the interview.

  2. Know where you’re going\Test your technology

    If you have an in-person interview, it’s best to always plan on arriving 10 minutes early. Make sure to build in time for traffic as well as parking and/or walking to the location of the interview. Whatever you do, don’t be late. If you are unsure of the location or how long it will take to get there, go on a test drive the day before.

    If you have a video interview scheduled, make sure you’ve downloaded the proper video platform as well as created an account, and uploaded a professional video background. If you’re not familiar with the technology, make sure to also do a test run a day before your meeting with a friend or family member.

  3. Dress for success

    Visual impressions are extremely important. The interviewer will make an initial evaluation of you based on your attire alone, so make sure to dress appropriately. When there is a question about casual dress versus professional dress, always dress professionally. Men should wear a suit, pressed shirt, clean tie that hangs to the belt, and clean dress shoes. Women should also wear a suit, conservative blouse, polished shoes, and moderate makeup. 

  4. Shake on it (if applicable)

    If you have an in-person interview, make sure you have a good handshake! Handshakes are very important. Be confident. Use a firm handshake and adjust your grip to the other person’s hand. Do not squeeze the other person’s hand too tight but don’t offer them a weak or limp hand either.

  5. Be Confident

    Body language is also very important. Look the interviewer in the eye. Maintain good posture while seated. Smile and laugh when appropriate. Focus on answering the questions completely and concisely and be sure to avoid rambling. Overall, be confident. Maintaining a good posture, smiling, and being knowledgeable about conversation will help increase your confidence and will speak volumes to an employer. 

  6. Be yourself

    Interviewing shouldn’t make you nervous. To the best extent possible…relax. Being relaxed in an interview comes from practicing your answers to the questions you will most likely be asked. At a minimum, you should rehearse answers to the basic questions about strengths, weaknesses, reasons for leaving your last job, and qualifications for that position.

  7. Know your strengths

    You should practice talking about your experience before the interview so you can plan out how to best position your experience. Practice makes perfect, but don’t plan out your answers too rigidly or you’ll risk being thrown off guard when they ask you a question you weren’t expecting. The more you practice, the more relaxed you’ll be and will be able to speak truthfully and naturally. Always be sure to answer questions honestly and use specific examples whenever possible. 

  8. Engage the interviewer

    Be prepared to ask three or four key questions. Most interviews will have this time built in specifically for you and the interview will prompt you when it’s your turn to take over the conversation. It’s best if your questions come from research you have done about the company prior to your interview and could range from what a typical day would look like in that role or what opportunities there are for advancement later on. 

  9. Tell them what you want

    Ask for the job. Too many candidates leave interviewers wondering about their interests. If you are truly interested in the position state that clearly to the interviewer and inquires about the next step. It will set up an opening for further discussion and could give you an idea of if and when you might expect a second interview or even an offer. 

  10. Follow up

    Send thank-you letters or emails to each person you interview with. Keep these notes brief and personalized, and be sure to send them immediately after the interview. Make sure to verify names, addresses, and titles prior to sending. 

For more information on interview and job searching tips, feel free to contact us. Our recruiters are always searching for job seekers in a wide variety of fields. When working with a recruiter, you’ll receive free, personalized job search and job placement assistance in the form of one-on-one advice, increased exposure to employers, and honest, immediate professional feedback. Plus, our confidential services come at no cost to our candidates, and there’s no limit to the opportunities you can pursue.