How to: Ace the Interview

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Although in the moment they might seem like supreme beings, interviewers are people just like you. Truth is, interviewing isn’t the most fun for everyone. The interviewer is hoping you’re the one so that they can be done with the interviewing process. To help you make an impression and ace the interview, we rounded up a list of science-backed strategies to make yourself seem more likable, competent, and ultimately hirable.

What to wear:

So you’ve accomplished the hard part—you’ve landed the job interview—and now you’re panicking because you have no idea what to wear. Do your research and find out what the culture of the workplace is so that you don’t show up overdressed, or under-dressed. Above all else, do not wear something too casual or better suited for a night out with your friends than a serious job interview. However, there are actually other concerns to take into consideration.

Color: The majority of employers recommended blue (23%) and black (15%). 25% of employers stated that orange is the worst color to wear and is the color most likely to be associated with someone who is unprofessional. However, orange can also been seen as a creative color. Use your best judgement when it comes to colorful attire. Certain skin tones pull off colors better than others.

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Many employers feel more conservative colors such as black, blue, gray and brown convey a sense of professionalism.

Other attributes colors may convey:

  • Black – Leadership
  • Blue – Team Player
  • Gray – Logical/Analytical
  • White – Organized
  • Brown – Dependable
  • Red – Power
  • Green, Yellow, Orange or Purple – all four colors were associated with Creative.

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Style: For women, skirts are traditionally preferable to pantsuits as they are more formal, but in most professional environments either are acceptable. For men, your suit should be comfortable, but not casual or sporty in appearance. Also, the weather may factor into your decision. Make sure you are comfortable in your attire so that you can feel good and focus on the interview.

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Fit: Fellas, avoid tight-fitting suits! Suit jackets should fit so that they can be easily buttoned without any noticeable pull marks across the fabric. The same advise goes for women’s blouses. Also, skirts and dresses should be close to knee length.

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Fine details: Make sure that your hair looks kempt and neat. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a trim a few days before your interview. Also, make sure that your nails are well manicured, this goes for men as well. Nail polish colors should be neutral and subtle. Accessories and belts should also be complimentary to your outfit.

Uptown Cheapskate buys & sells business attire so you can impress for less!
We look for and carry:

  • Current (within 2 years) Banana Republic, GAP, J. Crew, and Express
  • Tailored Blazers for guys and gals
  • Fitted men’s suits in standard sizes– (not tailored) from H&M, Express, Hugo Boss, Steve Madden, etc.
  • Current men’s button-ups (within 2 years)
  • Skinny ties and leather belts
  • Pencil skirts and fitted dresses

What to bring:

Bring in a portfolio or briefcase with a clean pad of paper and a few pens, multiple copies of your resume, notes you have taken to prepare for the interview, including questions you will ask them, and a copy of the job description.

Questions to ask your interviewer:

    • What do you expect to be the greatest learning curve for the new person coming into this job? Is it the technology he or she will be using, learning the culture here or something else?
    • How does this position support your department’s goals?
    • How do you plan to evaluate the performance of the person in this job?
    • What are the most important milestones to hit? What should your new hire know about your management style, that will help him or her interact more effectively with you?

These are some of our favorites, however you can find a full list of great questions here.

Story reminders:
Many employers will ask “Tell me about a time when…”-type questions to have you share about your past work experience. Write down short reminders of your stories and bring the reminders to the job interview.

How to act:

Make eye contact: Making eye contact shows confidence and respect.  Don’t go overboard though, you don’t want to creep your interviewer out!

Body language: The “chameleon effect” is a psychological phenomenon that describes how people tend to like each other more when they’re exhibiting similar body language. Body language expert Patti Wood says that, ideally, it should look like you’re “dancing” with the other person. Otherwise it can seem like you’re not interested in what they’re saying, you’re not a team player, or even that you’re lying. So if your interviewer is leaning forward in their chair and putting their hands on the table, feel free to do the same. Chances are they won’t notice that you’re copying them.

Hand gestures: According to Molidor and Parus, your hand movements contribute to the impression you convey in a job interview. Showing your palms generally indicates sincerity, while pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple indicates confidence. On the other hand, you don’t want to hold your palms downward, which is a sign of dominance. You’ll also want to avoid concealing your hands, which looks like you have something to hide; tapping your fingers, which shows impatience; folding your arms, which indicates disappointment; and overusing hand gestures, which can be distracting.

Tailor your answers to the interviewers age: In their book “Crazy Good Interviewing,” John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus write that you should conduct yourself a little differently based on which generation your interviewer belongs to. Here’s their breakdown:

    • Generation Y interviewers (between 20 and 30): Bring along visual samples of your work and highlight your ability to multitask.
    • Generation X interviewers (between 30 and 50): Emphasize your creativity and mention how work/life balance contributes to your success.
    • Baby Boomer interviewers (between 50 and 70): Show that you work hard and demonstrate respect for what they’ve achieved.
    • Silent Generation interviewers (between 70 and 90): Mention your loyalty and commitment to previous jobs.

These are just a handful out of thousands of tips and tricks to help you ace your interview. Make sure you do your research on the company, practice, and stay positive! You’ve got this.