It’s interview season.
For teachers looking to change schools and college graduates, it is time for finding new jobs.
As someone who has done a lot of interviews over the last couple years, I have picked up a lot along the way. I consider this one of my skills, and luckily, it has led me to some moderate success.
Here are my tips to prepping for an interview to help yourself feel less awkward:
- Come to the Interview Prepared: This includes doing research on the company, the position you are applying for, and–if you can find out–the culture of the company. It may seem trivial when you are desperate for income, but if you find out as much as you can about the job before interviewing or even accepting, you can save yourself from being miserable (or quitting) in a few months.
- Have Something in Your Hand: For me, I like to bring in a packet with a cover page, cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, and a write-up of a sample lesson. For others, this may be a portfolio, sample writings, or something that the interviewer has requested. You will feel much more confident walking in if you know you have something you can give them. It will help them remember you and you will feel more prepared, giving you more confidence.
- Eat Something: Make sure you’re not walking into this new office with your stomach growling. It will be not only distracting to you, but make you uncomfortable. Pro tip: don’t eat spinach or anything else too leafy because you will need to…
- Smile!: It really goes a long way. If you are feeling awkward, sometimes smiling through it can help. If you are afraid it will come off as unnatural, try practicing smiling in the mirror. I’m totally serious. (Make sure to check your teeth while you are at it).
- Wear Something Comfortable, but Not Too Comfortable: I have a pair of dress pants that I always go to that are stretchy and not too stiff. Ladies, wear heels if you have pant legs that flare out, you don’t want to be stepping on them (I’ve learned this the hard way) because there’s nothing less comfortable than tripping over your own clothes. Gentlemen, I am going to say it, wearing a little makeup won’t kill you. Steal some of your girlfriend’s/sister’s/mom’s concealer if you have a big zit (which was probably caused by the stress of an interview coming up). An employer will look past blemishes, but if having a clear face would make you feel more confident, there’s no shame in covering it.
- Arrive Extra Early: It may seem obvious, but arriving early has its benefits other than being able to save you from any unexpected traffic/navigation issues. Arriving early will give you a few minutes to focus and calm yourself before going inside. You can take your time sitting in your car if you’re feeling anxious. Text your mom. Take a deep breath. Watch an episode of “The Office” (okay, I haven’t done this but one of my friends has and he said it helped him relax).
After the interview, Treat Yo’ Self. Do something for you. Talking about yourself and trying to seem perfect for thirty minutes can take a toll on you. Grab a coffee and put it out of your mind–until the next one. Good luck!