by Vicky Oliver, author of “Live Like a Millionaire (Without Having to Be One)“
Any competent job candidate knows to come prepared with astute answers to stock interview questions. And while preparation goes without saying, it’s important to know that, often, it’s the chemistry between you and the interviewer that will make or break an interview.
But chemistry can be enhanced with a few simple tips. You should feel that the people and the place are the right fit for you, just as the hiring manager should feel that you are the right fit for the team and the company.
When you’re able to showcase your natural confidence, your ability to think under pressure, and your dazzling personality, you have a good chance of projecting the person that others will take to.
Here are some ways to build the chemistry that lets your interviewer know you’re the right match:
1. Dress the part.
Appearance matters in the professional world. Stand out in the right way by taking a modest approach to displaying your flair for fashion. Look up the company’s website and try to glean what others wear. Then resolve to look even more professional on the day of the interview.
2. Arrive early.
Showing up 5 or 10 minutes ahead of your scheduled meeting gives an impression that you take the interview seriously and can be counted on to be reliable. If you interview is on Zoom, it’s best to arrive 5 minutes early. Check your mic and the lighting in advance.
3. Give a firm handshake.
Put some muscle in your grip, but not so much that it’s painful to the other person. A simple hand clasp will make a favorable impression.
4. Look the interviewer in the eye.
Eye contact exudes confidence. Especially when you meet your interviewer, be sure to look right at the person for about a second or so.
5. Be you at your most enthusiastic.
Present a positive attitude. Be aware of how an upright body posture gives the impression of energy and vibrancy. Don’t slouch!
6. Be present.
Listen carefully to the interviewer. Rephrase a question if you’re unsure. Don’t allow your mind to wander when the other person is speaking. Give a relevant answer that’s on-topic to show that you’re paying attention. Above all, don’t talk over or interrupt your interviewer.
7. Answer by sharing an anecdote.
Rather than just sticking to a self-scripted litany of your skills, tell a story. This keeps the exchange conversational and lets your personality shine through. (Pro tip: Practice a bit in advance to nail the timing.)
8. Prepare several insightful questions.
Show that you’ve done your homework and have researched the company by asking insightful questions. The interviewer will know that you’ve given careful thought to the position.
9. End on a positive note.
Graciously thank the interviewer and reiterate your interest in working for the company. Inquire about the next steps. If appropriate, hand the interviewer your business card and ask for theirs. If an executive recruiter sent you, be sure to follow up with that person the moment you arrive home.
10. Send a note of thanks.
Follow-up is nearly as critical as making a good in-person impression. A gracious Thank You note and a few insights about what you took away from the interview will remind the Human Resources manager why you’re the one who should be hired.
Meanwhile, take note of your interviewer’s attitude and the impression it leaves with you. Does this person project the chemistry that you’re looking for? If so, and if through your confidence, enthusiasm, and positivity you exude the type of chemistry that appeals to the interviewer, then you have both found the right match for a promising and productive professional relationship.
Vicky Oliver is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including “Live Like a Millionaire (Without Having to Be One)”, “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions“, and “Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers, and Other Office Idiots“. She is a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media source, having made over 901 appearances in broadcast, print, and online outlets.