We’ve all been there, nervously sitting in the hallway, waiting to go in for an interview while our hearts pound in double time. No matter what position you’re applying for, an interview can be a very nerve-rattling process. Here are some common good and bad things - dos and don’ts, if you will – to help ensure your interview is a success.
- Show up early. Showing up early shows that you’re eager for the position and punctual, which is always a good thing. Usually, coming in about 10-15 minutes early is recommended. Plus, it gives you enough time to figure out where to go if it’s a big place. Early is always better than late, right?
- Dress smartly. Dressing professionally and conservatively shows that you take not just the interview but the position seriously. No one wants an employee that’s sloppy or dresses in a revealing manner.
- Give positive body language. Making eye contact and offering a firm handshake shows confidence, and that in return can be viewed as competence. Also, be friendly and polite. You want your interviewer to see you as someone who it’d be pleasant to work with.
- Ask questions. You want to make sure that the position for which you’re applying for is a good fit for you. Be sure to ask intelligent questions during the interview to make sure that it’s what you expected. Asking questions also shows interest and forethought, always good qualities to have in an employee.
- Send a thank-you note. It might not be something you thought of – I know I didn’t, at first – but showing appreciation for the time taken to interview by sending a thank-you note you is a great way to make yourself stand out from the other people applying for the same position. It shows that you are courteous and thoughtful, which are always great qualities to have.
- Assume you have the job. No matter how qualified you are for the position or how strong your resume/application is, you still need to take the interview seriously. It’s a chance for you to sell your good qualities and leave a lasting impression. A resume may blend in with all of the others on the interviewer’s desk, but a good impression stands out.
- Answer your cell phone. It sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often this tip is forgotten or ignored. Be doubly sure to turn your cell off before the interview or, if you forget, quickly apologize and turn it off. NEVER answer it or read a text during the interview!
- Belittle or talk down a former job/boss. No one likes a complainer or a negative attitude. Talking down a former boss or position you held may make you seem like both. Not only that, but if you talk that way about your last company, why wouldn’t you do the same when discussing this one, if you ever left? Sometimes jobs just don’t work out. Be honest but respectful.
- Chew gum or smoke during the interview. Even if the interviewer does themselves or offers you to, refrain or politely decline. Chewing gum or smoking during the interview is unprofessional and makes it seem like you’re not taking the job very seriously.
- Be nervous. I know, it’s much easier said than done. However, you should try to enter with confidence and grace. Looking and acting confident despite your pounding heart and sweaty palms shows that you can handle yourself well under pressure. Obviously, things are looking good so far, otherwise you wouldn’t have been called in for the interview in the first place. Even if you do feel a bit jittery, never let them see you sweat it. Just be yourself, be professional and friendly, and you should do just fine!
These are only a few tips to help you make a good impression. It maybe a stressful process, but remember, it’ll be over before you know it. Next thing you know, you’ll be getting that call asking when you can come in for your first day!