I have a friend who has moved out recently and has been going through the interview process in order to find a new job. After hearing some of his tales, and having a few flash backs of my own I was inspired to share a few tidbits to assist others through such a process. So hopefully for those of you that are just entering the job market or are “veterans” this post might be of some interest and maybe even just helpful!
Rule #1: Dress to Impress
Cheesy saying yes, but unfortunately very important. The way you dress for an interview in many ways shows the person interviewing how important this job really is to you. You should know your demographic and location if it’s casual corporate dress slacks and a nice top are appropriate if it is “true” corporate a tie is a must gentlemen and ladies a dress or dress pants and a nice top as well. You can find some great stuff out there that is reasonably priced such as H&M, Old Navy, and for ladies it’s a bit pricey but sometimes you can snag their sale racks at Ann Taylor & Loft and gentlemen/ladies Express has some nice stuff as well. I honestly could not believe how many people I have seen walking into or out of interviews in jeans, or regular daily clothing. Shower, shave, and dress nicely-take your time getting ready.
Rule #2: Do Your Homework
The point of taking a new job or starting a new career isn’t just about making income. The company that you interview for wants their employees to be a part of the team (or at least a good company will strive to achieve this) Therefore, you should be prepared to do a little homework about the company you are interviewing ahead of time. It’s always good to know what the company stands for and if you agree and think that you would be a good fit. Knowing more about the company before going in should also help you feel more prepared and less anxious about the process as a whole.
Rule #3: Timing is Everything
As a rule of thumb for myself, if I am 10 minutes early to an appointment then I consider this to be showing up on time. If I arrive when I am expected then I am late. When it comes to interviews believe it or not you can actually come too early as well! Always allow enough time to make it to your destination with time to spare. If you show up super early sit in your car and review your resume and think about the questions you would like to ask the company (I will discuss this later). I would recommend that you do not show up any earlier than 15 minutes prior to your set interview time. Otherwise showing up to soon makes you look a bit desperate.
Rule #4: It’s All About Body Language
When you meet the person you are interviewing be mindful of how you carry yourself and how you sit. If you have your arms crossed in front of you then you will give off the vibe that you are guarded and might appear uninterested. Where as if you were to sit forward with your hands neatly in your lap, or on the arm rests this will make you appear engaged in the conversation. Generally, I will sit on the edge of the sit, this way it forces me to sit up right and keeps me from falling into a comfortable position. Always make sure that you make direct eye contact with whom you are speaking too at all times. If you are being interviewed by two people at once (I’ve experienced this and it can be a bit overwhelming) remain calm and take turns alternating making eye contact and responding to each of their questions. Again the key word here is to be engaged in the conversation and situation at hand. And speaking of hands…. big pet peeve of mine- hand shakes. You can tell a lot about how someone shakes your hand. When you meet with your interviewer and upon the completion of your interview always shake hands. This should be done in a direct manner, with a firm grip (not bone breaking…) and again be sure to make direct eye contact.
Rule #5: It’s About You Too
Keep in mind when you go into an interview the person who is taking the time to meet with you might have already done so with several other people prior and there might be more after you as well. So you definitely need to make a good frist impression and make sure that you are memorable. At the end of an interview you are generally asked ” Is there anything you would like to ask?” This is a great opportunity for you to show that you did do your homework on the company and want to know more. You can always make it personal to ask “What’s your favorite thing about working at xxx?” Or you could spin it another way (or both) “I was reviewing your site and saw that earlier this year you were involved in/ with a (philanthropic) event, it’s very important to me to be involved with a company that gives back. In my spare time I volunteer…” Find things about the company that you can relate back to yourself this way it just reiterates to the interviewer that you would be a solid fit for that company.
Rule #6: Be Gracious
Again, the person that is interviewing you has probably already spoken with multiple candidates throughout the day. So be sure to thank that/those individual(s) that were involved for taking time out of their busy days to assist you with the interview process. It is all dependent upon style but some people go as far to write a thank you note and leave it with the receptionist upon leaving. Just be appreciative of the chance to be interviewed. Sometimes just getting the chance to be face to face with someone is all it takes!