3 Should-Be-Patented Steps for Nailing a Job Interview

Ace your in-person interview with these moves that'll get you ready for the next step of the job process.

February 2, 2017
job interview candidates

Adapted from The Big Life

You've research the company, Googled the boss, connected with the HR department on LinkedIn, checked out the Glassdoor reviews, and written a killer cover letter—and finally you got a callback! Don't panic, sister. You got this!

woman job interview
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Sit at the edge of your seat

You have to earn the right to sit back in your chair—and if you're going for your first job or second (or even third), you haven't. You have to lean forward and show respect to your interviewer. Under no circumstances should you bring coffee or a water bottle into an interview and put it on the interviewer's desk. Automatic disqualification!

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Be engaging

It's your job to make the interview a conversation. Don't make your interviewer work to figure out what's so great about you. Come prepared to tell her what makes you so good for the job and what she doesn't already know about you from your résumé. She wants to know specifically why you want to work for her. You should ask questions too, but never about money (until later) and never about anything that you could find out in your research. I'm a huge fan of questions that connect you to the work the company is doing, let the boss know you've done your background checks, and flatter the interviewer just a smidge, like this: "I loved that campaign you launched last fall. I did a similar pro- gram for the nonprofit I work with. What was your favorite part of that campaign?"

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Write a thank-you note

I used to be a stickler about handwritten thank-you notes. And if you're going that route, get classic flat note cards with your name or initials engraved on them. No foldover cards. No flowers or butterflies. Simple and sophisticated. That said, I've softened my stance on the handwritten note and think it's fine to email a thank-you. In fact, if you know the clock is ticking toward a decision or it's a digital job, email is the first line of defense. The crucial point, though, is that your thank-you has to specifically mention something you talked about in your meeting, and it has to be thoughtful—and short. Five sentences MAX. Or it's TL;DR. Simply thanking your interviewer for her time is a waste of her time.

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You have to say something that makes you stand out from the crowd. The most nerve-racking part of the proper follow-up protocol is how to follow up again if you don't hear back. The truth is that people are phenomenally busy and email can easily get lost in the shuffle. If you don't hear back in 2 weeks, email again reiterating how excited you'd be to join an organization that's doing such amazing things. If you still don't hear back, some people say a third email another 2 weeks later is okay. I think it's just like a dude who doesn't return your text or your smiley face reminder: He's moved on and so should you.