- Arrive 15 minutes early. Tardiness is never excusable.
- Plan ample time for your interview. Don’t schedule anything around your interview that will create a time crunch.
- Research. Researching the company before the interview and learning as much as possible about its services, products, customers and competition will give you an edge in understanding and addressing the company’s needs.
- Be Prepared. Bring along a folder containing extra copies of your resume, a copy of your references and paper to take notes.
- Show Enthusiasm. Plenty of eye contact and a firm handshake demonstrate confidence. Speak distinctly in a confidence voice.
- Clarify questions. Answer the interviewer’s questions as specifically as possible. Relate your skills and background to the position requirements throughout the interview.
- Listen. Concentrate not only on the interviewer’s words, but also on the tone of voice and body language. Once you understand how the interviewer thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to establish a better rapport.
- Show undivided attention. Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices to avoid any distractions.
- Give your qualifications. Focus on accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
- Be professional. Smile, make eye contact, and maintain good posture.
- Anticipate tough questions. Prepare to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths.
- Dress appropriately. Make your first impression a professional one. Dress for confidence. Even if the company is very casual, overdress slightly. If you feel good, others will respond to you accordingly.
- Ask questions. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.
- Don’t answer vague questions. Ask the interviewer to clarify fuzzy questions.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer. If you don’t listen, the interviewer won’t either.
- Don’t be disrespectful. Don’t smoke, chew gum or place anything on the interviewer’s desk.
- Don’t be overly familiar, even if the interviewer is.
- Don’t mention a salary range during your interview. If working with a recruiter, your recruiter will negotiate salary terms on your behalf.
- Don’t drop names. The hiring authority may have had unfavorable experiences with your contacts.
- Don’t wear heavy perfume or cologne. The interviewer may not share your tastes.
- Don’t ramble. Overlong answers may make you sound unprepared or indecisive.
- Don’t lie. Answer questions truthfully.
- Don’t express bitterness. Avoid derogatory remarks about present or former employers.
Closing the Interview
Job candidates often second-guess themselves after interviews. By asking good questions and closing strongly, you can reduce post-interview doubts. If you feel that the interview went well and you want to take the next step, express your interest to the interviewer.
Try an approach like the following: “After learning more about your company, the position and responsibilities, I believe that I have the qualities you are looking for. Are there any issues or concerns that would lead you to believe otherwise?”
This is an effective closing question because it opens the door for the hiring authority to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If concerns do exist, you may be able to create an opportunity to overcome them, and have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on a positive note.
A few things to remember during the closing process
- Don’t be discouraged if an offer is not made or a specific salary is not discussed. The interviewer may want to communicate with colleagues or conduct other scheduled interviews before making a decision.
- Make sure that you have thoroughly answered these questions during the interview: “Why are you interested in our company?” and “What can you offer?” Express appreciation for the interviewer’s time and consideration.
- Ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can write a thank you letter as soon as possible.
- Don’t linger. A long farewell is uncomfortable.
After your interview, follow-up is critical. When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered in the interview. Think of the qualifications the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them. A “thank you” letter should be written no later than 24 hours after the interview. Be sure to call your recruiter to discuss your interview and your next steps, as well.