5 Tips for Winning at Any Interview

February 22, 2017

5 Tips for Winning at Any Interview

At this stage in our cultural evolution, it appears that studying or having a career matters to us. Girls don’t wanna have “just” fun anymore. We want fulfillment, independence, and we want to shine! We aim high for our goals and excel at it: we enroll and graduate school and college at rates unheard of,  and a recent study shows that having more women in the leadership team of a company equals more profits. Say what? Yes Girl! It’s not perfect yet, but previous generations of women made it possible for us to stand up to the plate and go for it. We owe it to them to keep pushing, and  make our presence, talents and drive known.

If we are to be successful, empowered women, it helps to make wise and smart decisions early on. Many roads lead to Rome, but honestly, are you not happy and relieved to have Google Maps plans and suggests the best route for you? Yes we all are! When it comes to mapping out your career or future You have to be in charge and become your own Google Maps.  You have to think thoroughly about the best path to make it happen: Which school should you choose? Which degree should you earn? Which values will you cultivate? Which skills should you learn?

Whether you’re applying to the school of your dreams or you’ve bagged the job interview of the year for your dream job, you’re at a crucial point: you have to prove yourself. It can be stressful, sure, but remember this: it’s not all about research, skills and experience. The sassy, sharp, and smart woman in you needs to come out and show herself off too. Basically, if you want the right people to pay attention when it counts, you gotta walk your talk.

At Unapology, we’ve been in your shoes… many times! We’ve felt your pain, and have had our share of disappointments, lessons, and ultimately successes… so we thought we could share some tips so you too can crush any interview:

 1. Find out what you are dealing with   

So, you’ve nailed the basics; you know what the school or company is about, what the class  or job requires, how you’re going to get there on D-day, and you’ve even figured out how you can fit in and become an asset to this establishment. Well, great! But there’s more.

It doesn’t hurt to contact the company and check in with them about what will be expected of you on the day. Find out who your interviewer will be, how long you may be there, and how many interviews they’ll conduct. These answers will give you a head start for your prep.  

2. Polish your body language

There is a lot of non-verbal communication going on in an interview, and it is easy to look nervous and fidgety. We’ve all felt it before. That uncomfortable blend of sympathy and awkwardness when an unconfident person is struggling in front of you, crippled with self-doubt. Don’t. Be. That. Girl! Get a Grip, Woman; literally! Remember that the way you are seated - and your gestures - could be telling a very different story from your verbal version. Make sure you know the negative signals you may be giving out: for example crossing your arms, leaning in aggressively, pointing or avoiding eye contact are all big no-nos.

Stanford scientists will be the first ones to tell you that subtle changes in your head movements and torso indicate your levels of creativity and learning ability. They found that students who made extreme movements in their upper body were less capable learners than those who moved more gently.

So there you go: constantly moving around on your seat will look pretty suspicious to a prospective employer, whereas having a firm handshake, smiling, holding someone’s gaze and sitting upright with an open posture speaks volumes about your confidence.

  3. Be thoroughly organized

Grab a quality notebook for taking notes at your interview (yes, avoid bringing that tacky pink one you bought last year because on the moment it felt like a good idea). This implies seriousness about not missing details. Don’t forget to check that the interviewer is OK with this.

Bring printed copies of your resume in case your interviewer has forgotten it, and so you can draw attention to a specific point easily. It’s a small testimony of your forward-thinking and proactive nature. Make notes on your copy for memory triggers about important achievements or experiences. Also, bring any examples of your work that makes it clear that you’re the rockstar they’re looking for..  

Think about the kind of questions you might be asked and have some answers ready. Show them how dynamic you are – that you can put yourself in their shoes… what would be important to this particular employer? What curveballs could they throw at you to see how well you think on your feet? That’s how you show them that you’re prepared, imaginative, creative, empathetic and proactive.

Lastly, you probably know it but repetition doesn’t spoil the prayer: remember to get there early, check out daily traffic trends, and note contact details for your interviewers in case of unavoidable delays.

4. Look the part

Here’s the fun part. Dress for success! To be regarded as the perfect fit for an employer’s needs, your efforts won’t end at skills, preparation and body language. Appearance isn’t everything, sure - but it is definitely a form of expression, that you’ll be judged on nevertheless; so… what message are you going to send that day?   

For your interview, be sure that your outfit reflects who you are but also that it is appropriate for the company and your role. Consider what a true leader looks like to you: Does she exude style and confidence? Does she express herself through her style while still taking her role seriously? Maybe she emphasizes how unapologetically smart she is with a lipstick like the Mastermind? In any case she is you.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

You know all too well that there’s nothing worse than a one-way conversation where you’re doing all the talking and nothing comes back. Plus, you’re not the only one ‘on trial’ here – this is a two way street! They’re going to be lucky to have you, so you need to make sure that they’re good enough for you too. Prep ahead of time to ask specific, non-cliché questions that will demonstrate confidence, understanding and interest.

Firing a few relevant and timely questions throughout the interview is the best tactic, but you’re also likely to get the opportunity at the end of the interview. Asking the interviewer about their personal history or experience with the company shows your interest in both the company and the values and attitudes of the people you’ll potentially be working with.

Ultimately, you want to present yourself with confidence, enthusiasm and style. Your self-assured presence in any room will do wonders for your life. Your attitude could be the most important factor in landing this role, so remind yourself of all the reasons you’re a confident, powerful woman.

Alright, now there’s only two things left to do:

  • Go show them the catch you are, #BossLady.
  • Tell us what other tips you would share with the Unapology community.

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