Let’s face it, getting a job isn’t always easy. If you are lucky enough to have your resume chosen for an interview, it’s up to you to make the best impression and close the deal. During my career, I have had the opportunity to conduct many interviews. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you nail them and get the job.
Be on time. There is nothing worse than arriving to an interview late. This immediately alerts the potential employer that you may not value this opportunity and that you will more than likely be late to work. On the flip side, try not to arrive more than 15 minutes before your interview time. Arriving too early may make your interviewer uncomfortable and feel compelled to stop their current project to meet with you.
Dress for the interview. Make sure your attire is professional. Even the most laid-back employer appreciates someone who puts time and effort into their appearance. Men, you can never go wrong in a dress shirt, slacks, and dress shoes. For that extra pop, seal the deal with a tie and suit jacket. Women, show your style in a dress, pants or a skirt. Jazz it up with an optional blazer and don’t forget to finish your outfit with a nice pair of dress shoes. If you like to keep it trendy, use your best judgment when getting dressed. An interview may not be the best place to show off that funky head wrap, those 7-inch red platform pumps, or that printed hoodie over your dress shirt.
Research the company prior to the interview. Don’t waste time in the interview asking questions that could have been answered by checking the website. Show the potential employer that you care enough about the position and company by becoming knowledgeable of all of the details before the meeting.
Listen to the questions carefully and answer thoughtfully. If you don’t understand the questions, ask the interviewer to repeat or explain. Make sure your answers are relevant and that you use each answer as an opportunity to sell yourself and experience for the position. If you need a minute to get your thoughts together — take it. This is not the time to think aloud, engage in unrelated banter, or tell stories. Most importantly, don’t talk over the interviewer.
Maintain eye contact. Be confident. Poor eye contact often equates to untrustworthiness. Also, if there are several people in the interview, make sure to give everyone eye contact while answering questions. The person asking questions is not always the decision maker. Don’t mess up your chance at the job because you didn’t give all parties in the room the proper respect.
Ask questions. Prior to the interview, write out three questions that you would like to ask. Remember, this is a time where both you and the company mutually determine if the position is a good fit.
Get a business card and close the deal. When the interview is over, make sure you shake hands and grab a business card. Use the information to send thank you emails and/or cards to everyone you met.
Following these steps will help you ace the interview and get you closer to your dream job. Do you have any interviewing tips or stories that you would like to share? Let us know. Good luck!
Courtney Bell is passionate about helping people achieve their goals. She is a life coach, professor and blogger with over 10 years of experience creating strategies for adults and students to live the lives they desire. Courtney currently lives in Chicago. Like her Facebook page – Courtney Bell Coaches and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cbellcoaches.