An interview as art? Indeed. It is after all a dance of sorts. Two people, both dressed to impress and wearing their best smile meet for the first time. Both begin the dance trying to make a connection with their first handshake. They make eye contact and spend the next period of time trying to lead or follow their partner’s moves, as they continue with the delicate art of the interview.
Surely, interviews never turn out to be as romantic as described above. They can be nerve-wracking and stressful, however, the preparation you do today will make the difference for your interview tomorrow. There are many different schools of thought about how to interview and many articles are available online. It’s a good idea to peruse as many articles as you can, but be sure to use the advice that suits you personally. You want your personality to shine in your interview, not someone else’s. Below are some interview tips that will help get you started.
Prepare Your resume
Even though you’ve already submitted your resume to a prospective employer, always bring a copy (or two) with you to your interview. The person who initially received your resume may not be the same person with whom you interview. As a courtesy to your interviewer, have one ready for him/her. An additional one is always a good idea as well, in case you are interviewed by more than one person. Double check your resume for accuracy; spelling and grammatical errors do not make a good impression. Make certain it is neatly organized and easy to read. Contrary to popular belief, bold lettering, artsy fonts and intricate formatting are not the way to go. You want your interviewer to easily find details about you without having to search around the page.
Dress for Success
Dress professionally for your interview. Wear clean and pressed clothing. Even if you’ve heard that the dress code is business casual, wear the tie; show your potential employer that you made an effort. Nothing flashy—keep the jewelry to a minimum and skip the cologne or perfume. Also, if you do smoke, don’t smoke before going to your interview. Fragrances and smoke are offensive to some people.
Be On Time
Arrive for your interview a little early, perhaps 15 minutes. You may be asked to fill out paperwork, so allow a few extra minutes for that. Do not be late! There are, of course, some circumstances out of your control may make you late, such as traffic issues, but do your best to allow for them. If by chance you are stuck in an unexpected traffic jam, be sure to have the name and phone number of the person you will be interviewing with so you can call and let them know you are detained and are on the way. (Please, hands-free calling only while driving, or pull off the road to a safe area first.)
Make A Good Impression
We’ve all heard that you only have one chance to make a first impression and it is indeed true! Always stand when you meet people at the company. Use a firm handshake, (but not a crushing one). Don’t chew gum or candy while you are interviewing and make eye contact throughout. Don’t bring any food or drinks with you; that coffee can wait until you leave. Be sure to listen. You may be ready to throw out some prepared answers, but if they don’t match the questions you’re asked, they won’t work.
Do your research on the company where you’re interviewing. Know what they do, make, or what service they provide. A company’s website can provide a wealth of information. Watch any videos they may have and learn about the management team. Recent news items can give you insight into the workings of the company. Research as much about the industry you can. Asking relevant and insightful questions is always encouraged; it tells the interviewer that you are interested in the company.
Go to your interview with a positive attitude. Show enthusiasm for the job you’re interested in. Above all, be yourself. To have gotten an interview means that the company saw something about you they liked. Look confident, sit up straight, be polite and no slouching. You may feel nervous, but try not to fidget, tap your fingers, play with a pen or your hair or other nervous actions. Relax. Breathe. Listen. Respond.
Before you leave your interview, ask the interviewer what the next step in the hiring process is and what an appropriate time would be for you to follow up. Thank your interviewer, then follow up with a professionally written thank you note. You can send a thank you email to your interviewer, but also follow that up with a hand-written thank you note through the mail. In the world of electronic communication, the hand-written thank you is often overlooked; however, it can set you apart from other candidates as the one who made the additional effort to let them know you want the job!. Good luck!