Job interviews are nerve-wracking, and it's easy to get so caught up in the stress of the interview process that you forget to pay attention to how well it's actually going.
If you've ever left a potential employer's office feeling unsure of your chances at getting the job, don't worry; there are some things you can do to ensure the interview process goes smoothly next time, and signs to look out for to gauge your performance.
Teresa Taylor, author of "The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work/Life Success" (Greenleaf Book Group Press, April 2013) shared these tips for making the most out of a job interview.
1. Make note of your surroundings. When you go in for an interview, don't just sit down and start talking; make sure you take a moment to look around the office and take note of any personal items your interviewer might have out on display, Taylor said. Then, use what you see to make conversation later on. For example, Taylor suggested asking about pictures the interviewer has sitting out. She noted, however, that it's important not to make assumptions, but rather to let the interviewer tell you who is in the pictures. [6 Avoidable Job Interview Mistakes (And What to Do Instead )]
2. Actively listen. Interviews often mean talking a lot about yourself and your qualifications, but the key to a successful interview is more than just saying the right things; it's knowing when to be quiet and listen, too. Get comfortable with long pauses, Taylor advised, and don't worry about adding more clarification or choices to your response. And most importantly, when you're listening, make sure you're really listening. Don't worry about what you're going to say next; really absorb what your interviewer says, and make sure you understand it before you respond, Taylor said.
3. Connect with the administrative assistant. Many people don't realize that the administrative assistant at your prospective company can make or break your candidacy. Taylor said it's important to treat assistants with the same respect that you give the boss, and to make a personal connection. Even if you don't get the job, you never know when that relationship will come in handy in the future.
4. Present yourself well. This goes above and beyond making sure you're appropriately dressed. It's about being prepared and ready to take on the interview in other ways, too. Make sure all of your devices are on vibrate or silent so there are no interruptions, Taylor said. And if you're doing a demo or presentation, make sure you know how to use your laptop.
5. Give and take. The interview process is a two-way street, Taylor said, so make sure you're not just trying to serve your own needs. The job interview is just as much about building a relationship as it is about trying to get a new job, Taylor noted. Put in the effort to show how you're valuable to the company, and make sure you have as much to offer them as they have to offer you.
6. Follow through. After the interview, follow up on any promises you made during the meeting. For example, if you said you were going to send over more information, provide a link to something or share a contact, Taylor said, make sure you do just that, and do it in a timely manner.
Originally published on Business News Daily