I really don’t think this needs to be said, but be on time. If you’re going to be late to an interview, you can pretty much forget getting that job. If something major happens to prevent your on-time arrival, call ahead and communicate the problem. This happened to me once when my car’s transmission gave out in the middle of the night in the California desert. I called the interviewer first thing in the morning and all was well. I did get the job.
As you begin the interview, shake hands firmly. This radiates confidence. Don’t forget to smile and make eye contact. Don’t go overboard with making eye contact, but don’t be afraid to look directly at the interviewer. You don’t want to make them uncomfortable by staring. My best recommendation is as you are speaking, look directly at them. This reinforces your honesty and confidence.
I’ll discuss researching the company and the interviewer in another post, but make sure you know the person’s name and position with the company. Use their name from time to time, it breaks down emotional barriers and helps them remember you.
As for what to wear, I usually recommend clothes. Most interviews would be best in business attire, but there are exceptions. One executive I know who interviewed with The Gap, decided to run to one of their stores and buy all Gap clothing for the interview. She stood out, she was hired. Be conservative in your grooming, jewelry, accessories and style. Leave your electronics in the car, unless you’re applying at T-Mobile.
Once seated, sit forward in the chair and try to mimic the interviewer’s behavior of how they sit, breathe, scratch their head, etc. I’ll discuss the science of this in another post. Don’t be a monkey or obvious about doing this. Just casually mirror what they do.
Don’t be anxious or nervous. It won’t help you, so why do it? Just relax and help the interviewer get to know the real you. You don’t want to fake your way into a job that isn’t for you. Be yourself. Make every attempt to connect with the interviewer on a personal level. Ask about them and see if you can find things you have in common. One woman I know was able to get hired because she belonged to a similar music group as the interviewer’s daughter. She found a connection.
Treat the interviewer and everyone else in the company with respect. Don’t waste their time by rambling. Most interviewers really hate doing interviews, so make it as memorable and enjoyable as possible.
Be prepared with questions that you should develop from your own research. If there are things you feel are crucial to get said, then slip those tidbits of information into your answers. Don’t wait until the end and try to sell yourself all at once out of desperation. Most interviewers have made up their mind long before finishing the interview.
As you leave, thank the interviewer for their time and attention. Let them know you appreciated getting to know a little more about them and the company as a result of your time together. Follow up your meeting with a thank you note in a format that makes the most sense for the industry. Don’t send cute thank you notes from Hallmark to an IT company.
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