By Eva Benoit  

Arguably, there is nothing as intimidating as going on a job interview. However, there are ways to prepare yourself so you’ll worry less and dazzle your prospective employer more. If you’re looking to do your best at your next job interview, here is all you need to know.  

Most applicants for PR jobs are savvy about how to present themselves for job interviews, but it won’t hurt to review these four steps that will help ensure your success.   

Look Your Best  

Everything from choosing an outfit to a hairstyle can be stressful, yet how well one looks can be pivotal to making a solid impression. Your attire may depend a lot on the business you are interviewing for, as well as other factors like the weather. Since most interview appointments don’t mention wardrobe specifics, don’t be afraid to ask about office dress code or do some online research where you can check out photos of the workplace. Then, dress a level above what you see in the pictures. You do not want to turn up in a suit if the company is more comfortable with business casual, although there is nothing wrong with over-dressing for the first interview. Unless management is overly casual, dressing up is a show of respect—even for the boss who is in shorts and a t-shirt. Be sure that your nails are trim, and shower the morning of your interview. (Sounds obvious, but believe me, it’s been a job-killing issue mentioned by several hiring managers). Try to omit cologne or perfume from your final look, and be conservative with your makeup and jewelry. New grooming tools may be a good investment, as you do not want to make any compromises with your appearance.   

Be Prepared  

Know your interviewer. Research the agency or corporation. Most will have a website that you must review thoroughly, and check out Glassdoor and LinkedIn to learn more about the firm. Familiarize yourself with their values, ambitions, and even the history of the business. This can lend itself to understanding exactly what you can give to the firm and how to communicate that to a hiring manager. Jot down some questions you may want to ask, such as how you might grow with the company. Not only does this show that you are thorough with your preparation, but that you also have initiative and enthusiasm. Practice mock interviews, and try to come up with a range of hypothetical questions alongside your own responses, because hiring managers may vary what they ask you. Instead of questions about your work experience, they might focus on your personality and achievements. Ask yourself what you have learned from your experiences and how they might be applicable to your potential new employer.  

Reinforce First Impressions  

Those initial five minutes depend a lot on perception, but good impressions are not dependent on appearance alone. They are details which might seem minor at first glance, but they can build up to create a comprehensive image that could prove to be a clincher. Be courteous to everyone you meet, including staff at the reception desk and people walking in and out of the building. It’s essential to have a firm handshake, and be aware of your body language. Crossed arms can appear defensive, while fidgeting or avoiding eye contact can indicate discomfort. Don’t be averse to small talk, as it may happen throughout your interview. Your hiring manager may expect nerves, but they will still want to gain insight into your personality and how well you might get along with others.  

Emphasize Skills  

Hiring managers don’t just want to learn about your previous experience or qualifications. They also want to know how well you will fit into their teams. If they are unsure whether or not you will thrive collaborating with others or take criticism well, you may not be their top pick. Core skills encompass a range of attributes, and they’ll want to know about how innovative and adaptable you are. Be confident in how you present your qualities, and keep your interviewer engaged with positivity as you go over your record.  

It is an intimidating process, but don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Be prepared, stay positive no matter what, and give a good impression.  

Eva Benoit is a freelance writer and wellness coach, who says she is grateful for every client transformation she’s able to be a part of. 

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