Be on Time
This seems ridiculous to even mention as an interview tip, doesn’t it? But it’s the first impression you will make – even before the interview gets started – so this is a big one! You must prepare accordingly. Do a trial run to the company’s location. Pick the route you will take. If you don’t have a way to get to the interview it’s important to make arrangements ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out about public transportation, a family member’s availability, or whatever means you will need to get there on time.
Showing up a little early will show interest on your part. And it also shows that you understand the value of time. When you get there a little early it also gives you time to get familiar with your surroundings, go to the rest room, and go over any “talking points” you want to cover in the interview.
If you show up late, what happens? Everything is rushed and you’re not prepared. And, probably the biggest thing that happens is you will be apologizing for being late. Do you think that is a good first impression? Absolutely not! Starting your interview out apologizing is no way to start a relationship with a company. In fact, it will kill the interview! So, it’s very important that you be on time to all of your interviews. It matters.
The first thing people think about when I say appearance is how they might be dressed. The old “Dress for Success” thing and that’s part of it, but not all of it. How about your body language? This is just as important in my book. Are you slouching? Do you look and act depressed? Do you make eye contact when you speak? Are you wearing a lot of make-up or cologne? Are you restless? What about your voice? Do you speak softly? Are you hard to understand? To you have a heavy accent? All of these things are just as important as the way you look. Your body language is very important. Make sure you practice your interview with a family member or a friend, or even in front of a mirror, to make sure your body language isn’t projecting a negative image.
Now regarding dress. I think your appearance must match the company and the position. If you’re interviewing for a construction superintendent you will dress differently than if you’re interviewing for a vice president of finance. You have to dress the part (I know some of you HR types will disagree with this, but so be it). The best advice regarding dress is – if you don’t know or if you’re not sure – dress your best! Your appearance is very important when you’re interviewing, but don’t just don’t think it’s all about how you’re dressed, you must be very aware of your body language.
Make sure you are attentive and enthusiastic about the interview, the position, the company and the INTERVIEWER. Nobody likes to interview a person that just sits there and doesn’t show any signs of life. Companies have plenty of dead batteries on their staff, what they want are spark plugs! They want someone fresh, positive, and enthusiastic about their industry and, more specifically, their company. I have had candidates in my career get hired just because they were more enthusiastic. That’s it!
And, here’s the big one – smile! If that sounds corny, it’s not. Everyone likes a good smile. So make sure you smile and are very enthusiastic in your interviews, but let me caution you on one thing. Don’t overdo it.
Make sure you are prepared BEFORE your interviews. Don’t wing it! I want you to research everything you can about the company, people, culture, locations, and philosophies, as well as anything else that pertains to your industry.
For example, what kind of company is this? Privately held or publicly traded? What kind of reputation in the industry do they have? How many locations do they have and where are they located? What kind of people work at this company? What schools do they hire from? What type of degrees do they like? What kind of company culture do they have? Are they a partying company? Are they health nuts? Sports nuts? What are they’re overall philosophies about business? How do they treat their employees? And the list goes on and on. I want you to dig into everything you can find. This will be very useful when you interview. Be prepared!
Now take your research you just did when you were preparing for the interview and start formulating your questions. This is probably the most important interview tip of the 6. You must ask a lot of questions when you’re interviewing. Interviewing is a two-way street. The company is asking you questions to see if you fit in, and you will be asking questions of them to see if it’s a company you want to join.
I want you in control of your interviews. Ask questions of the company. Put them on the spot. Too many of you have made career decisions without asking a lot of questions in your interviews, then you get to the company and you cannot believe what they have you doing. Why? Because you didn’t ask enough questions in your interview, that’s why! This is not the time to be shy.
When you ask a lot of questions in your interview it shows the company you did your research and this is important to you. This is your life and career! You want to make sure the opportunity is right for both of you. The company will appreciate your level of interest and how important you view this, because most candidates don’t. Most candidates just wing it. They just answer the questions and hope for the best. Yikes!
Another thing, and this is very important, don’t ask money and benefits questions in your interview. You have to make sure the opportunity is right for YOU first. The money is not as important as the other stuff like, The Company. The position. The location. The travel. The culture. And, of course, one of the most important questions to ask is about the advancement opportunities.
These are the things you need to know before any money or benefits questions. Never make career decisions based solely on money. Don’t get me wrong, I know it plays a role in the decision making process, just don’t make it the sole reason for making a change. If you do you will regret it.
I cannot stress this enough when it comes to your interviews. Ask a lot of questions! You have to know and understand what you might be getting into. Make sure the opportunity is right for you. Most of the people that are unhappy in their careers are unhappy because they’re working for the wrong company and they’re in the wrong position. Don’t make this mistake. By asking a lot of questions you can make sure the opportunity is right for YOU.
So, be on time, be aware of your appearance and be enthusiastic and prepared to ask a lot of questions in your interviews. Don’t put a lot of time in your resume, cover letter and job search and then get to the interview and blow it! Try these 6 interview tips the next time you interview and watch what happens. You will be surprised at the results. I hope this helps.