My most recent article Wear Success To Your Interview provided tips on dress code do’s and don’ts. I stand by the mantra that you can never be too prepared. Pre-interview homework includes researching the company, memorizing the hiring managers LinkedIn profile, dry-cleaning your suit, and printing your resume on the finest paper and stuffing it into a fancy folder for showmanship. But how do you act when you arrive? Well, I’ll tell you. Shift gears with me from preparation mode, to execution mode. Read on for helpful hints on how not to blow your next interview.
Don’t be rude to the receptionist. Despite nerves or your stubborn unsociable ways- you need to suck it up and shine. In many cases, a receptionist or anyone with whom you encounter before your interview will give their two cents on first impressions after you’ve left. Be polite to everyone you meet throughout the process.
Keep a firm handshake. A handshake can indicate whether you feel confident or insecure.
Don’t talk too much. There is nothing worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on. Keep your answers focused and to the point. Less is more.
Don’t pretend to have an experience that you don’t. In other words, don’t lie. It is not uncommon for a question to come up during an interview for which you do not have experience in and an answer. Instead, explain that where you lack in experience you can make up for in being resourceful and a quick learner. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Posture, posture, posture. Don’t fidget. Sit up straight rather than leaning back and slouching in your chair.
Make and keep eye contact with your interviewer throughout the meeting. If your eyes wander the hiring manager could perceive it as if you are uninterested in the process, not paying attention to what they are saying, or not confident in your responses.
Do not bad mouth current or past employers and managers. Even if your boss was an idiot and the company culture was dead as a rock, don’t say so! Be drama free and positive.
Don’t chew gum. Come on, you know this already. It never fails; I always get an interviewee chopping away. Swallow it if you have to.
Don’t arrive without pen and paper. Even if you don’t intend on taking notes during your interview (not a practice of mine), it’s best to seem prepared. Appearance is everything!
Don’t forget to take a business card and follow up through email. Thank the person for their time and state that you’re looking forward to the next step in their process. Sending the email on the same or next day as the interview is a good practice.
And smile. Don’t forget to relax and have fun.
Truth be told, I could go on for days relaying rule of thumb after rule of thumb. If you’re interested in receiving some coaching, role-playing (my favorite) an interview or phone screen, or need general advice I am available to make you sound, look and most importantly feel your best. If you decide not to take any of the advices above and shockingly don’t get a callback for a job, don’t blame it on lack of resources! Good luck.