So, your fancy footwork has landed you a foot in the door. Or at least a toe or two.

After flailing in that endless sea of job applications, creating countless variations on cover letters, and networking up a storm, the stars have aligned.

A prospective employer has spotted your CV. They liked it. And now, they’d like to meet you face-to-face.

Whether you nail or fail your job interview will all come down to preparation. In the spirit of foresight, we’ve compiled this checklist of interview tactics and strategies. We’ll help you taken on the daunting prospect of The Interview with curiosity and confidence, and give you the secrets to making a first impression that sticks.

Play your cards right and the outcome might even be an offer!

1) Dress the Part

In today’s casual culture, the line between overdressed and underdressed is finer than ever.

Make sure that your carefully-selected outfit perfectly suits the tone of the workplace and the nature of the work. Do some research about the company. Find out what they’re all about. Get a sense of their vibe.

Whether you’ll be suiting up or sporting a more business-casual ensemble isn’t the point. What’s important is that you arrive looking put together, everything effortlessly in place. Wear something comfortable yet stylish, not to mention scrupulously well-fitting. If you can’t dress to the nines, dress to the eights.

Never underestimate the importance of hygiene, either.

2) Do Your Research

The fact that you applied for the job you’re interviewing for implies a certain degree of interest in the position, as well as in the company.

Don’t let yourself be blindsided in the heat of the moment. Memorize the cold hard facts of your potential employer— history, activities, objectives, and the like – until they are deeply engrained in your mind.

To really wow your interviewer, brush up on present or future activities of the organization. Mergers, acquisitions, expansions, press releases, interviews with executives…the list goes on.

Research diligently and take a genuine interest in the company!

3) Speak Well, Listen Better

From the moment of eye contact and that first firm handshake, you’ll be given information: indirectly and directly. Keep yourself perceptive and engaged at all moments.

Don’t just listen to respond… listen to understand.  Answer questions succinctly—if you find yourself rambling down a rabbit hole, try your best to retreat into a dignified silence.

Know when to elaborate and when to abbreviate.

Present yourself in a way that informs and yet leaves the interview wanting more. Don’t forget to be inquisitive!

4) Mind the Gap Between Confident and Cocky

Consider your attitude as carefully as your outfit.

You’ve likely heard of the timeless three C’s: cool, calm, and collected. Add a fourth: confidence!

The herd has been thinned out, and your education, experience, and/or merit has made you a standout for this position. Carry yourself proudly and with the knowledge that you are a great candidate for the job.

However, be sure to maintain an air of gratitude and modesty. Take pride in your achievements but avoid boastfulness and arrogance at all costs. Don’t show off or you’ll be shown out.

5) Self-Reflect

Take this exciting opportunity you’ve been given as a chance to look back on your educational and professional career.

Arrive with a mind filled with anecdotes of past work experiences: names of inspiring and important mentors, challenging situations, and other parts of your history that make you who you are. Recall the moments that have really proven your values and skills.

You never know quite which questions will be posed to you—do your best to be ready for them all.


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