Dos and Don’ts for an interview

Posted by | July 25, 2011 | Advice

Many times we prepare for an interview and overlook the little details that leave a lasting “bad” impression. Here are a few tips to help you avoid those pitfalls and prepare for a successful interview:

  1. Plan ahead
    If you are unsure of the location and/or travel time for an upcoming interview, take a test run. Being on-time and having a little time to calm down and settle in gives a good first impression. If you must be late or absent, try to call within 10-15 minutes of the proposed interview time to reschedule.
  2. Bring along neat copies and/or originals of documents
    Try not to present the employer with wet, dirty, torn or crumpled documents. This tells the employer a lot about your character.
  3. Dress in a presentable manner
    An untidy personal appearance tells the employer that you don’t really care about the way the world looks at you. This immediately tells a prospective employer that you may be coming to work everyday in this manner.
  4. Try to become engaged in the interview, even if the employer is boring you
    Lack of genuine interest or enthusiasm tends to show on a person’s face even when they aren’t trying. Looking all over the room, tapping your feet, swinging the office chair, or even slouching gives a bad impression of you.
  5. Be optimistic
    Having a negative attitude immediately turns off the employer. Be open to suggestions and/or work environment, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that the employer is only trying to see how flexible you can be in certain situations.
  6. Do your research
    Be ready for anything during the interview. Employers prefer candidates who have a general sense of what their business does on a daily basis.
  7. Distractions
    Try not to enter the interview room with gum in your mouth and be sure to turn off your cell phone before you enter the interview venue. These are common oversights that distract the employer from what you have to say.
  8. Greet the Receptionist/Secretary with courtesy and respect
    Remember that even though they may not be the employer, they are potential co-workers and you want to ensure that you leave the establishment with a good overall impression. This way, everyone has something good to say about you.
  9. Don’t rely on your application package to do the selling for you
    No matter how qualified you seem on paper for a position, the determining factor is how you present yourself to the employer. You NEED to sell yourself during the interview!
  10. Show a little interest/courtesy for the employer
    Greet the employer by title (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) along with their last names. It’s true many times we forget the name of the employer or don’t know the proper pronunciation of their name. Show some initiative and interest and clarify with the receptionist prior to the interview.
  11. Avoid being humorous during the interview
    Many times, nervousness seems to directly affect the funny bone. Try to avoid unnecessary distractions with humor. This is a big turn-off when employers have a full day of interviews.
  12. Watch your language
    Avoid slang, poor language, pause words and being soft-spoken. A strong voice and good presentation projects confidence and shows that you are capable of working under pressure.
  13. Be nice about former colleagues
    Be cautious about negative comments toward former employers, supervisors and colleagues. This raises many questions about your ability to work with a team.
  14. Don’t stop at “yes” or “no”
    Try to elaborate a little when responding to the employer’s questions. Answer sincerely, truthfully, frankly and succinctly. Don’t babble or bring up personal issues or family problems. As much as you can, try to stress your achievements and show off whatever research you have done on the company as it relates to the employer’s questions.
  15. Compensation and benefits
    Never inquire about salary, vacation time, bonuses, benefits and the like until after you’ve received an offer for the position.
  16. Closing
    End the interview by reassuring the employer that you want the job and inquire about next steps in the recruitment process. Ensure that you’ve got contact names spelt right for future reference.

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