So, You Have a Face-to-Face Interview?
Suffice it to say that your mom was not wrong when she told you that you only have “one chance to make a good first impression.” After a few years of conducting interviews, as well as having sat on the other end of the conversation and having been interviewed, I have established a set of guidelines, or best practices that may ease the awkwardness of a job interview.
- You Need to LOOK Good to be Taken Seriously: If I had a dollar for every time I had a disheveled person sitting in front of me in a conference room, well…let’s just say I would have a lot of dollars. I know that people develop their own sense of style and individuality, but the interview room is not the place to express this! That means: iron your clothes, wear plain colors, tuck in your shirt, brush your hair (or if you are a female put your hair back so you are not tempted to touch it nervously), and by all means take a shower! You do not want anything in your appearance speaking for you. Let your experience and personality do the talking.
- Know Your Own Resume: Sound stupid? Well you will not believe how many times I have inquired about the dates on a candidate’s resume, or a specific bullet point, and I got a response something to the effect of “where do you see that written?” If you don’t know your own resume, how can you effectively speak about your experience and have
- Be Positive: Chances are during the course of the interview the question as to why you are looking will come up. Make sure you stay positive and make it about your professional growth as opposed to “my manager is a jerk,” or “they are laying off left and right!” No one wants to hire someone who is desperate for work, or seemingly has nothing positive to say about where they clock in every morning.
- Do your Homework: The first thing most interviewers want to know is what you know about the company. If you have not prepared, and do not have a solid understanding about the basics of what the company you are interviewing for does, then you have a poor tone for the interview. No excuses. We all have the Internet!
- Q&A: I cannot stress enough that you need to be the interviewer as well. Ask questions! No interview should be one-sided. When you are prompted by the interviewer if you have questions, ask them! You will seem like you are much more interested in the role and will be able to engage in a dialogue rather than a firing round of questions.
- Close the Deal! So many people make the mistake of shaking hands with the interviewer and parting ways. Not so fast! Are you interested in the job? Then tell the interviewer. Try to gain a clear understanding of if you were the candidate of choice, what next steps would be.
Hopefully these few guidelines will help take some of the nervousness out of interviewing.
What tips have helped you in a recent interview?