2014 is in the books. Companies on a calendar fiscal year have their new budgets for 2015, and department heads can start proactively searching for new employees. So, an interview opportunity may be calling soon.

Nailing an interview can be a tricky thing, but making sure you absolutely nail it in your interview can be even trickier. Going on interview after interview and not landing a job can become a bit discouraging, but there are ways to improve your interview style.

We are not just talking about a suit and tie. We are talking about impressing your interviewer before, during and after the process.

"Right or wrong, regardless of the credentials and tactical steps applied, you’ve got to connect with your interviewers. You’ve got to come across as confident and fluid," says 17 year Human Resource Management veteran, Nate Pinkard, Insperity.

Black Men’s Dossier comprised a list of tips that will be helpful to connect face to face with your future employer. So, in the end, when you follow the tactical steps and cultivate a level of comfort with your interviewers, you have significantly increase your chances of securing the gig.

Nail the First Impression

When it comes to interviews, it goes without saying that the first impressions counts. Interviews are similar to talent show auditions where you have a limited amount of time to appeal to recruiters.

“Creating an atmosphere of comfort during the interview will most likely land you the gig,” says Pinkard.

Don’t just rely solely on the merit of your resume.

Make sure that you’re on time, but it sends an even better message when you’re early. Being early to an interview shows you’re prepared and prompt.

Strictly follow the dress code, maintain a decent body posture, make eye contact and put on a smiling face.

Once you get inside the office to interview, make sure you greet your interviewer formally and that you’re as comfortable as possible. Your opening words should exude confidence and passion.

Let Your Body Speak

Having a positive body language is an integral part of any successful interview. Your gestures and facial expressions should reflect your confidence and enthusiasm about yourself and the position.

Don’t let the interview butterflies get the best of you. Remain composed and avoid leg shaking, finger tapping and hair stroking.

Impress From the Start

Many interviewers base their assessment of a candidate on the reviews received from the receptionist. Does that mean that you have to impress even the receptionist? Yes, sort of. Receptionists are able to tell whether a candidate is prepared or not and make a quick judgment of your personality.

Therefore, you should not do anything silly or relax too casually before entering the room. Put your game face on and behave as if you are being watched.

"When credentials are similar to other candidates in the interviewing process, the fit will distinguish you from the pack. So, in this regard, proudly be the black sheep. Stick out in a positive way and establish that you play well with others," says Pinkard.

Make sure you give eye contact and answer each question as naturally as possible. It’s important to show that you’re very interested in the position and learning whatever you can from the interview.

The beginning of the interview lends itself to casual conversation, and gives you an opportunity to identify commonalities between you and your interviewer. When the time is right, share them.

"Another way to establish fit is to cultivate comfort by using the interviewers first name and directing your responses accordingly," says Pinkard.

For example, “John, I understand that you were in the military, so was I.”

Know Thyself

By thyself means your resume. The importance of knowing your resume inside out is indescribable. Know your strength and weakness, and possible holes in your resume.

Anticipate their questions about your resume and be well prepared to answer them. Don’t be shy to mention the necessary qualities you possess for the job. With that being said, be sure to support those qualities with evidence and examples.

The interviewer analyzes your resume and answers to determine your proper fit to the company’s culture and position. As the interview unfolds, each answer should build comfort with interviewer.

"Fit is the perception that the interviewer has of the interviewee’s ability to fall in line with the organizations culture and more granularly the team that you will be assigned to.  It also is the degree to which you create an atmosphere of comfort for the interviewer," says Pinkard.

Let the Questions Loose

Interviewers absolutely despise “Yes Men.” For example, people who keep nodding and blindly agreeing with them. Asking questions at the end of the interview depicts your inquisitiveness, a trait which is highly esteemed. Also, not asking questions will give off the impression that you aren’t enthusiastic about the job.

You need to know what to ask and how to ask it. Don’t ask close ended questions. Instead ask questions that allow them to elaborate and explain further. This way, you keep them engaged and buy yourself more time to build comfort and confidence.

Do Your Research

It’s always important to know some business about the business before you come in for your interview. Take some time to research the business’ history or perhaps some of the clientele. It sets a good tone when you show that you have some basic knowledge about the company that you’re interested in working for.

"One of the best ways to work on your ability to “fit” is by doing your research.  Leverage social media (i.e. Linked In etc.) to become familiar with those that will be interviewing you," says Pinkard

Practice

It helps to have a mock interview with yourself, a friend, a family member or even a neighbor so that you’re not as intimidated on your big day.

You can have someone pull up a list of popular interview questions to ask so that you can already have a clue as to how you will answer the question. For example, most interviewers ask questions like:

  • Can you tell me about yourself?
  • How will your skills help you with this position?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why should we hire you?

You don’t want your answers to come off as rehearsed, but you don’t want to stumble and scramble. Make sure you know the points you want to make and that they come across the right way.

Follow Up with the Interviewer

There may be some time before you hear from an employer about whether or not you’ve received the job. If there happens to be an instance where you’re not hired on the spot, make sure you send a follow up letter or email to your interviewer.

Be sure to thank them for the opportunity of interviewing and that you are still interested in the position. Remind them of why you are an exceptional choice for the position by giving a brief overview of your resume. It’s never too late to make a good impression!