Nail that interview with confidence, preparation

Sunday , March 18, 2018 - 12:00 AM

TX. Correspondent

Whether you hate them, love them or fall somewhere in between, going through an interview is something most people experience multiple times throughout their lives.

There’s no need to worry about this stressful task — be it interviewing for a job, scholarship or other situation — when you know a few key tips.

Today I hope to share with you some of the biggest interviewing tips and tricks I have learned through interviewing classes and workshops, competitions and real life experience.

• Confidence is key

Instead of becoming nervous for your next big interview, become confident instead. There is no need to spend your time worrying over something and creating negative thoughts. It is important to instead get excited and gain confidence within yourself. Confidence is the key needed to be successful.

Be proud of the skill set you are bringing to the table, start off with a firm and confident handshake, and keep good eye contact throughout the interview. Even if you don’t feel confident on the inside, appearing confident on the outside will allow you to appear confident, and your body will begin to believe it as well.

• Dress for success

Dressing professionally for an interview seems like basic and common knowledge, but some people still fail to meet the standard. When choosing an outfit for your next interview, keep a few of these tips handy.

It is important that your outfit is not too distracting or flashy, and one of the best ways I have found to do so is to avoid wearing too bright of colors or and patterns. It is also important to not wear something that could possibly make your interviewer uncomfortable. I would typically advise girls not wear any jewelry or at least extreme pieces while interviewing. It also isn’t the best time for a guy to decide to wear his Mr. Potato Head tie. Looking professional pays off!

It is vital to keep in mind what honor or job you are applying for. A nice rule of thumb is to dress a step up from what would usually be worn at the job you are applying for. Believe it or not, ballgowns and tuxedos may be just a little too over the top for your interview. Find the perfect balance in your outfit tailored to whatever you are specifically interviewing for.

• Practice makes perfect

There is no need to walk into an interview completely blind. On top of doing your research on the company and position ahead of time, you should prepare answers to possible questions that you might get asked. Putting some thought into possible scenarios of questions will allow your brain to jump on the right track.

Your answers to questions will be perceived as less awkward and confusing if you rehearse them. At the same time, there is a very fine line to walk between sounding genuine and appearing completely fake and rehearsed. Your interview should be a conversation that ebbs and flows. Take control of your interview by giving well thought out answers.

Another key element of an interview to prepare for is the very end. If the interviewer asks you if you have anything else you'd like to say or if you have any questions, always take that opportunity. Come prepared with possible questions you might ask your interviewers! Ask specific questions about the company or position you are applying for.

Also, asking a question that allows the interviewer to talk about his or her position or work can be good. It may also be smart to ask what type of qualities a person applying for your position should possess. Once they give you answer, tie that answer back into yourself and show them how you are their dream employee or scholar.

• Silence is your best friend

In every interview, you are bound to be faced with a few questions that you aren’t quite prepared to answer. Even when it comes to these questions, there’s no need to blabber on or quickly answer something which doesn’t sound eloquent. When you get asked a question you aren’t prepared for, there’s nothing wrong with sitting in silence for a few seconds to think about it.

Train yourself to replace any filler words, such as “like” and “umm,” with silence instead. Being able to utilize silence shows someone who is taking legitimate time and consideration to put together a truthful answer. Although it may seem a little weird to take a pause, it’s much better than unnecessary stalling when your brain is trying to catch up with itself.

• Come prepared

Never step into an interview empty handed. If you are applying for a job, make sure to bring copies of your resume, or whatever materials are appropriate. If it’s a scholarship interview or some other kind, bring something pertinent; whether it be an achievement list or a resume, bringing something makes you look prepared. Doing this type of preparation allows you to seem like a very organized person, and that makes a great impression on the interviewer.

You never know how many interviewers you may have, so always make sure to bring multiple copies of your materials just in case. For example, three to five copies of your resume are a good idea. You always, always, always need to come prepared with your materials in hand.

Now for your next big interview, you will be able to face whatever lies ahead with confidence, and you can feel proud of your performance. Even if you may not get chosen for the position, if you feel good about the interview and believe it ran smoothly, it’s a success in my book!

London Maynard is a senior at Bear River High School. Email her at

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