1.) Dress the part: This is a big one not only a first impression, but a lasting one. Even if you are told prior to the interview that, “we are a casual work environment”, dress a step or two up from casual. Make sure you are all tucked in where you should be prior to entering the building, there are no runs in nylons, tie is tight and leave your suit coat on in the chance that you are sweating through your shirt from nerves and lastly, ladies, make sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth. BE ON TIME, in fact, be early. That time waiting will ensure that you have found the location, may be able to see prior candidates, hear office talk and allow you some time to rehearse your interview in your head prior to the meeting. Do not chew gum or bring in your own drink. Do, however, make sure your breath is fresh and if offered water, you may accept it during the interview. Have a tablet or portfolio and pen with you to take notes and also bring along copies of your resume, notes on topics you are ready to discuss and questions for the interview. Make sure that you either leave your phone behind or silence it. While waiting for the interview, don’t peruse Facebook or check out the latest on Twitter. Look the part, act the part, be the part…even if only for a few hours.

2.) Be prepared: Make sure you have researched the company well prior to your interview. Search LinkedIn for information on the interviewer as well as higher ups within the company to find any common interests that may be discussed during the interview. Prepare questions for them regarding the direction of the company and two questions I always find useful are: how did this position become available and how long was the last person in this position? That alone helps me gauge if this is a revolving door, newly created or a coveted position. Come up with a discussion through your work/life history so that when asked, it all flows together and you aren’t stumbling through your answers or chronologically jumping around in life or off of your resume. Be ready to answer important and common interview questions with ease.

Practice, practice, practice aloud, in your head, in your sleep, on the way there and while you wait. It’s worth it as this is the first and may be only impression you have to make. Be ready to talk about past employers that may have truly been jerks or reasons for getting fired. Stumbling through this will make you look bad and leave questions in the interviewers head that can put you on the cutting block. Don’t lie, however, find creative ways to describe the situations or go with the tried and true, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” mentality.

3.) Confidence: While you are already dressing and acting the part, be confident in what you are bringing to the table. Leave the arrogance behind, humility yet confidence is key. Have examples or anecdotes ready where you have successfully used skills you’ve acquired to achieve goals/success in the past as they relate to the job you are trying to get. Be prepared for the twisted question: what is your greatest weakness? In the end, it’s all about what you can bring to the company and the team. Reread the job description and make sure that you highlight key points and successes that are directly related to the job.

4.) Power of positive thought: Run a positive mantra through your head that day. Positive thoughts regarding past employers and situations, positive feelings toward the interviewer, see them as a friend not enemy and simply breathe and relax mistakes are bound to happen but recovery is key.