Your application for the job you’ve been eyeing has been accepted. Now, it’s time for the in-person interview — and you don’t want to blow it! The following are some key interviewing “Do’s and Don’ts” to help increase your chances of landing your ideal job:
- Research the company before submitting your resume. Learn about the culture, dress code, the industry it’s in, and the management team. An internet search will reveal many aspects of your possible future employer. Speak with acquaintances who are current or past employees. You have done due diligence and decided that this is the place you want to work and you’re perfect for the position. You’ve been called for an interview; now it is show time.
- Dress appropriately. Even if the position doesn’t call for a dress shirt, wear one to the interview! Be sure to be impeccably groomed from head to toe – hair to shoes.
- Arrive early to the interview site. Arrive 10 minutes or so in advance of your scheduled time; it gives you the opportunity to check your appearance, relax and gather your thoughts. Exercise vocal cords by speaking politely to the receptionist; accompanied with a smile. Sit erect as you wait.
- Walk with a purpose into the reception area and through the interview room door. Shake hands firmly without squeezing too hard. Wait to be shone where to sit. Be ready for an unusual question, such as, “Why are you here?” Answering with “I want a job” is not the right answer! Instead, focus on your research about the company: the role it plays in society, the much-admired diversity, and where the company is headed. You want to be part of that, with the contributions you have to offer.
- Speak politely and formally. Our culture may be becoming less formal, but it’s important to always speak formally and politely in a job-seeking situation. Instead of responding “no problem,” say “my pleasure.” Use the simple “yes” rather than “sure” or “you bet.” It’s not old-fashioned to use the terms “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Ma’am,” “Yes, Sir” and “No, Sir.”
Also be sure to use proper name handles (Mr., Sir, Ms., Mrs., and Miss).
- Use your phone in the reception area or during the interview (this may seem obvious but it is worth mentioning). Silence your phone or turn it off. You’ll want to concentrate 100% on the interviewer(s) and their questions and statements.
- Chew gum or display nervous habits. This is a time to put your best foot forward and be impressive. Avoid tapping a pen on the table or drumming your fingers, tapping your feet on the floor, or rustling papers.
- Come across unprepared. As stated under the “Do’s” – research the company and the position you are applying for; know both really well. Give the impression that you are the tailor-made candidate!
- Ask personal questions. Your prospective boss may be smartly dressed, but don’t ask “where did you get that suit?” Personal questions, such as “how long have you worked here?” can come across as off-putting. Professionalism is key.
If you are invited to lunch, remember that you’re still being interviewed. Therefore, wait to be shown where to sit at the restaurant table. Keep your smartphone, car keys and other personal items off the table. Sit upright and treat the restaurant staff respectfully. After the meal, do not stack dishes or ask for a to-go box. This professional social situation will make a difference in the hiring process.
Finally, although of course you said “thank you” several times during the interview, be sure to send a handwritten thank you note to your interviewer within 24 hours. In this day of email and text, a handwritten note says a lot about you and it will show how much you care about landing the job. Good luck!
By Michael Robinson