So often when we look for jobs, we are perplexed about how to behave during an interview. There really are some things to be aware of, we may fidget, we may be nervous, but we have control over some things during an interview, so let’s tackle those easy, no brainer items we can control. We are completely in control of how we dress, how we look, what we know about the company before we go into the interview. So let’s tackle those objectives first.
1. Groom thyself – let’s make sure we are freshly showered, shaved, and our hair is neat. You would be surprised at how often people come into an interview smelling less than fresh. For interview days skip the perfume and cologne, you don’t know if the person that is going to interview you has an allergy, the objective is not to rule yourself out. Don’t stop and have a meal on your way, you may walk in smelling like fried chicken, or some other odor. Smokers be aware that smoke lingers on you and your clothing.
2. Clothes should be pressed and professional – make sure your clothes have been pressed, if you haven’t touched an iron, do so, if you don’t have an iron, bring a couple of outfits to a dry cleaners and have them press your clothes for you. Interviews aren’t the time to have wrinkled clothes, and be too casual. Dress professionally, don’t wear jeans, tank tops, stained clothing, or anything that has neon in it. You want to look like you fit in; you don’t want to look like you don’t belong.
3. Be on time – Don’t be late, really, don’t be late. Leave with enough time, to get lost once or even twice if you have never been there. If you need to drive out to where the interview is because you haven’t been there before, do so. Take the interviewers address, directions, and their phone number with you. Accidents can happen, if you are late due to circumstances beyond your control, call and let someone know the situation.
4. Don’t be too early. Be there 5 to 10 minutes early, any more is discourteous to the interviewer. You are wanting to interview, not look like you are desperate. The interviewer is likely to have a full schedule, don’t stress anyone out because you arrived there 30 minutes way too early. Bring a book; bring some notes about the company to brush up on before you begin your interview.
5. Know the company you are interviewing for, don’t ever walk in not knowing about the company you want to go work for. Search online on their website, about the company. Read their website, note their mission/vision statement, note their CEO, note what business segments they are in. In finance, read their financial statements. Do you know who you are interviewing with? If you do, look up your interviewers on linkedin.com, this way you can see where you may have commonality, you may have worked for the same company, you may have went to the same college, find common ground if possible.
6. Body Language – sit up straight look interested, lean in to your interviewer slightly. Don’t sit back with your arms crossed looking closed off. Watch your hand gestures, don’t point at your interviewer, it’s rude and unsettling, gestures with palms up makes you look open and trust worthy. Do not scowl at your interviewer, no matter what they say, put on your composed poker face, be calm and collected. If you need to fidget, pick up your pen; hold your pen in your hands. You may be nervous on the inside, but convey that you are calm and collected.
7. Practice the basics; everyone is going to ask you to talk about yourself. When this question is asked tell them about yourself to the extent that it relates to the job. If are a fireman, say you were a fireman, don’t say that you used to dance professionally for a living, don’t say what you did over the weekend, don’t talk about non-job related functions. This is the time you have to sell yourself, tell them how your skills, and how your enthusiasm would work well with the organization.
8. Make the interviewer at ease – they may not have had a lot of experience in interviewing previously. Don’t say just “yes” and just “no”, expand when appropriate, working in how you fit, and how your skills will help the organization. You may want to consider some small talk, for example you may want to note their class ring, you may note a picture that they have, and make a light comment. You are likely to be more at ease if you know that you have some commonality, you may want to simply ask where are you from, how long have you been part of this organization.
9. Bring extra resumes – you may want to have one to refer to when you are going over your resume, you can pass out extra copies if needed. Also consider bringing a sheet of accomplishments with you, chances are you may forget a couple of your accomplishments and you want to get across the job you can do. You may also want to pass out the sheet of accomplishments to the interviewer, and let them look over what else you can do.
10. Bring insightful questions – ask about the organization, the culture, ask why did this job opening become created, ask what factors are needed by the candidate to bring a real success to the role. Be enthused; never walk away from an interview without asking questions. Bring 3 or 4 questions with you, failure to ask questions gives the impression you aren’t interested.
Interviewing is a daunting task, chances are, you may be nervous. Relax there are many things you can do so you can feel at ease when you walk into an interview. Groom, be clean and neat, wear freshly ironed clothes that are appropriate for the position you are interviewing with. Do some homework on the company you want to interview with, look at the website, their financial statements, if you know who is interviewing you, look them up on LinkedIn, or Google.
Make sure the person who is interviewing you is comfortable, answer with complete sentences, and make them feel at ease. Don’t be too early, and definitely do not show up too late, be respectful of their time. Watch your body language, don’t convey you are disinterested, and be engaged. Come with questions; prepare your questions ahead of time. Interviewing is difficult, but going in with good preparation puts you ahead of many others. Pick off and eliminate anything that may put up a barrier between you and the interviewer ahead of time, this list of 10 things HR won’t tell you is a good start for interviewing success.