One of the most daunting tasks for any job seeker is the job interview. As an HR professional, I feel it is extremely important for job candidates to be informed and prepared BEFORE they arrive at an interview. As a job seeker, it is you responsibility to impress potential employers. Here I will list some dos and don'ts every job seeker should know.
What to Say
First and foremost, brush up on your knowledge about the company and position you are interviewing for. Interviewers will be impressed that you've done your homework. More importantly, you will know before the interview whether this position or company is right for you.
One of the best things to do before any interview is to practice answering some sample interview questions. Simply do an internet search for "sample job interview questions." There are certain questions almost any interviewer will ask such as, "What are your strengths/ weaknesses?" You don't want to memorize your answer and repeat them to the interviewer verbatim, but you should have an idea of how you are going to answer this and other questions.
Another tip is to practice speaking in the mirror. Watch yourself practicing your questions. Are you smiling? How is your posture? Are you engaging or passive? This is a great way to get a feel of the impression you're giving the interviewer. Be sure not to use slang, profanity, or any other damaging language. Using terms such as "bitchy" or "sucks" is not only inappropriate, but also a red flag to interviewers.
Furthermore, you should prepare some questions for the interviewer. This shows that you are interested in the job. You should ask questions such as, "What are some qualities you are looking for in a candidate for this position?" or "What would like to see accomplished in this position?."
What to Wear
This is one of the areas where people have the greatest challenges. You must "dress to impress." That doesn't mean dress in a flashy manner, it means to show the interviewer that you take the job opportunity seriously.
1. Wear a suit! If you are a man, you must wear a tie. If you are a woman and you choose to wear a skirt, it should be knee length. Suits should fit comfortably and look professional. They should not be tight or overly baggy.
2. Wear nice shoes. Shoes should be well kept and should match you suit. Dress shoes only! No sneakers, workboots, sandals, flip flops etc. Women, should you wear a heel, it should be no higher than 3 inches.
3. Fix your hair. Hair should be neatly combed and set. Men, if you have long hair it should be pulled back into a ponytail. Avoid being excessivley stylish unless the job specifically calls for it. Keep your hair simple and neat.
1. Wear cologne or perfume to the interview. You never know how sensitive the interviewers' senses are and you don't want to offend them. It is a best practice save the cologne or perfume for another time.
2. Wear anything that makes you uncormfortable. If you're unsure, don't wear it! You wouldn't want to spend the entire interview fidgeting because your shoes are too tight, or the fabric of your suit is itchy.
3. Go overboard on makeup! Keep it simple and clean.
What to Do in the Interview
1. Maintain eye contact, but not in an unnatural manner. Don't stare at the interviewer, but keep them in your focus and appear engaged.
2. Do not speak over the interviewer. Allow them to ask questions fully before you attempt to answer. Do not try to finish their senteces for them.
3. DO NOT CHEW GUM!! Or any other candy/ mint for that matter. If you need it, be sure to get rid of it before the interview begins.
4. Take notes. This makes you appear interested in what the interviewer is saying. However, do not attempt to write down everything the interviewer says!
5. Ask the questions you've prepared when prompted by the interviewer. Take notes if necessary, but always remain engaged in the interview.
6. Always have copies of your cover letter, resume, and reference list in case you need to supply them again. You may have more than one interview with more than one interviewer, so I would suggest carrying at least 3 copies of each. Do not provide them unless you are asked to do so.
6. Always ask when you can expect to hear back. Most interviewers will provide a timeline for second interviews and/or decisions.
7. Ask for business cards of the individuals that interviewed you. These will come in handy for follow up and thank you letters.
Things You Will Need
1. A properly fitting business suit, dress shoes, and a tie (men). Women: Skirts should be knee length.
2. A notepad and pen
3. A portfolio, breifcase, or something professional looking to store items such as papers and business cards
4. At least 3 copies of your resume, cover letter, and reference list
The most important thing to remember is that first impressions are important. The way you present yourself to a potential employer will let them know right away if you are the right person for the job.
Tips & Warnings
1. Be confident
2. Be well informed
3. Be courteous
4. Be engaging