You've networked successfully, your resume and cover letter secured you an interview- now it is time to shine! Below are some suggested tips to knocking an employer's socks off:
1) Overprepare. Not only should you be reviewing an employer's website, but you need to google them, see if they have been in the news lately and/or have recent press releases.
2) Learn the field. You need to not only understand the dynamics of the organization you're applying to, but their field more generally including who they partner with and who their competition is.
3) It's better to be overdressed. When in doubt, wear a suit, you can't go wrong with black. If unsure, perfectly acceptable to call HR or the Administrative assistant to ask what is appropriate for the office.
4) Iron and Shave. You don't want the small details of a wrinkly shirt, showing too much skin, clothes that don't fit, or too much cologne to distract an employer- your clothes and image should be in the backdrop. You want to be remembered as the woman who was prepared not the candidate with the ‘crazy hoop earrings.'
5) Be early. Get a cup of coffee, review your notes, walk around the block, but do not be stuck in traffic, or on a delayed train. There will be zero tolerance.
6) Smile. Not only does smiling diffuse stress and increase.
7) Let the interviewer speak. Never interrupt, and let them see that you can actively listen, and can add value to a conversation when you do speak.
8) Show confidence in your choices. You should feel confident in your choices and be able to explain why you made them. This shows that you're not passive, but actively seek out opportunities in life and make choices aimed toward goals.
9) Anticipate the dreaded questions. "Tell me about yourself" should be expected, so be ready for it. Questions about hiccups in your past- allow you to put a positive spin on the experience and to explain how you've learned from it and moved forward.
10) Prepare to fire back. You should have more questions than you could ever ask, some geared towards individuals, some about the culture of the workplace, others about performance and how success is measured. The only wrong questions are those that can easily be found on the website or have already been discussed in conversation.
11) Say Thank You. Within 24 hrs. send a thank you note to each person you interviewed with. Try to add value- ie "In reflecting further about our conversation on (topic) I believe I could add value by..."