3 Keys to a Successful Interview
Be on time and dress appropriately. . .
Such advice may seem trivial, but it is a very important part in making a first impression. Ensure there are no surprises by preparing your travel plans and outfit ahead of time. Doing a trial run of both will give you an idea of commute time and traffic and give you time to mend your clothes or iron out wrinkles. Plan to arrive to your interview at least 10-15 minutes early. Although a suit may not be necessary, depending upon the company and position you are applying for (you’ll need to decide), remember that it is better to be overdressed than under-dressed.
Attitude is everything. . .
Be excited, confident, positive, and enthusiastic during your interview. Attitude can be the difference between a good candidate and a great one. Qualifications got you to the interview stage, but it will take more to get a job offer. Companies are looking beyond your skills and need to know that you will mesh well with the company culture and be a positive representative for the company. Show the interviewer, with body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, that you really want the position with his/her company. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Remember that!
A job offer is your main goal. . .
Your number one goal in a job interview is to get a job offer. Give clear, concise, and relevant answers to the interviewer’s questions. In addition, make sure you ask enough of your own questions about the company and position, i.e. company culture, specific job details, career path, etc. Asking questions will let the interviewer know you are interested in the company/position. It will also help you determine if the company is a good fit for you. However, DO NOT ask ‘me’ questions pertaining to salary or benefits until after you get a job offer. The interview is primarily about what YOU can do for the COMPANY and not vice versa.
The Do’s and Don’ts
- DO be early to your interview. There is no excuse for being late or rushing in at the last minute.
- DO TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE. Just looking at a cell phone during an interview can completely blow your chances for an offer.
- DO be POSITIVE. This point cannot be stressed enough.
- DO be friendly and polite to the receptionist and personnel you meet throughout the day. Make sure to introduce yourself with a firm handshake and state your reason for being there. Think of everyone you meet as a possible ally in your quest for a job offer.
- DO be patient and understanding throughout the day, regardless of any minor discourtesies that may occur (delays, scheduling errors, etc). Remember that they’re looking for a team player, someone who is flexible and fits in well with the company culture. ‘Go with the flow’ and follow all of the procedures for interviewing with the company with a smile on your face.
- DO make eye contact and give clear, concise, and relevant answers to questions. Attempt to include examples of tasks you’ve performed at previous jobs that will be required of you in the position you’re interviewing for.
- DO research the company beforehand so that you are knowledgeable during the interview. Don’t be afraid to comment on things you really like about the company—people you’ve met so far, products, location, etc.
- DO show commitment. Questions about why you left your last position or about what you’re looking for in a new position all allude to the same thing: commitment. Answer all such questions in a positive manner. Show that you are looking for a career with the company and that you will stay with the company. Never give the number of years you’re willing to spend in the position, location, etc. because it may mean you do not receive an offer—there is no reason to disclose this information.
- DON’T say anything negative about your previous employer. Once again, always turn a negative into a positive. For example, instead of saying that your boss was a jerk and they didn’t pay you enough, say that your time at the last company was a valuable learning experience, but you are looking for advancement opportunities, challenges, etc. Communicate that you want to work in an environment where your skills, achievements, and hard work are recognized and contribute to the company’s success. Negativity will never help you in an interview and can only hurt you!
- DON’T be too modest. Part of your goal to receive a job offer includes selling yourself to the interviewer. Let him/her know that you are proud of your accomplishments and that you are confident you will succeed in the position at their company. Make sure to incorporate successes in previous positions into the answers you give. At the same time, though, make sure that you give credit to those who have helped you in your achievements—teamwork is incredibly important in the workplace.
- DON’T be too specific regarding salary requirements. Do not give a number! Indicate that you’ll be very interested in the best offer the company can make that is consistent with the hiring practices for someone with your qualifications and experience.
Are you scheduled for a video interview before you get to meet with the company in person? Click here to find additional advice on how to make that first connection a success! Trust us, your video interview will be all about getting hired if you eliminate technical difficulties, make a good impression, & follow the tips provided at the link above.