No doubt … job interviews are complicated. So much information to remember and articulate … so much to get right with so much that can go wrong.
Perhaps a cliche … but I can not say this often enough. I just read a popular work advice blog (to remain nameless) and I saw one of the first bits of advice for job interviews was to prepare a slick presentation of yourself and wow them with it. Ouch! While this might possibly be useful if you are interviewing for a high-powered sales job or maybe an industry like entertainment or advertising (although even there they want to see who they're really hiring), for most of you doing that will simply trigger a red flag, leaving the interviewer wondering if you're all bluster and no substance.
Now I'm not saying to be all shy and gawky either (see next section), but real and conversational trumps one-dimensional and slick any time.
Look Me in the Eyes
Not saying stare at me … but when you answer my interview questions, I want to see you connect with me. I'd like to see when your eyes show real enthusiasm about something you've accomplished or sincerity about wanting to do a good job for me. Now of course I make room for nervousness, but if I see eyes skittering all about unable to focus on me, how can I be sure you're being real with me?
Be Confident in Who You Are and What You Have to Offer
Do not spend time worrying if I think you're right for the job and what I (the interviewer) am thinking at any given moment. Just know who you are and help me see that. Know that you are a good worker who is reliable and will go the extra mile when called on – or whatever your own strengths are.
Everybody has their own unique strengths. I want to know what they are. So make sure you prepare yourself ahead of time to be able to talk about who you are and / or what you have to offer so that YOU believe it as much as you want them to. It shows.
Make Sure You Know Your Own Resume!
Nothing casts more doubt on your veracity than having to glance through your resume to answer questions. And worse than that is actually giving different information than the resume contains. So study it carefully well before you go in. And always remember to bring a clean extra copy with you.