Interviews are stressful especially in these times where there are many candidates competing for the same positions. Unfortunately sometimes candidates do stand out from the competition but for the wrong reasons. Hopefully with a few of these tips you will really stand out and be noticed …. for all the right reasons.
Be on Time for the Interview
Being on time is generally 5-10 minutes before your scheduled interview. 20 minutes is too early and right at the scheduled time is too late. To ensure you get there on time, scout out the location or drive the route before the interview. Do not rely on GPS or internet based driving directions for drive times. They cannot account for traffic, detours or other roadwork. If you need to rely on GPS or maps be sure to add plenty of time to the drive.
Review the job description and do research of the company prior to the interview. Doing your research helps you avoid unnecessary questions that may be answered by simply going through the company website. It also allows you to ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate you have explored the position and company more fully.
Be physically prepared for the interview. Be sure to have clean and pressed business attire and bring clean copies of your resume.
Leave the cell phone in the car or at minimum turn off all sound including the vibrate feature. Leave off the perfume and cologne for a day but don’t forget the deodorant and breath mints. What may be a good smell to you could be a distraction for the interviewer.
Answer the Question
It is always good to prepare for standard questions you know you most likely will be asked and there are things about your background you want the hiring manager to know about your background but be sure to focus on the questions being asked. Avoid vague answers and be concise. If you don’t know the answer to a question or do not possess a particular skill be honest but also highlight what you do have. By reviewing the job description you already know what is expected. Be prepared to turn the negative into a positive. Let them know you are willing to learn new skills. You may not have experience with a particular computer program but you may have experience with similar programs that do the same thing.
Be Positive and Ask for the Job
We all know interviews can be nerve racking but don’t forget to smile and relax. Be happy you are interviewing for a position you really want. Let the interviewer know you appreciate them taking the time to interview you and if at the end of the interview you like what you hear let them know you are interested and ask what the next steps will be in the process. You would be amazed at how many times we speak with a candidate who is very interested in a position but when we talk with the hiring manager they let us know the candidate has the right skills but they are unsure of the candidate’s level of interest.
Take Notes and Follow Up
An interview isn’t a class where you should come away with copious notes but bring a small notebook to take a few notes of who you meet with and any questions you have along the way. Immediately after the interview send a thank you email to those that you met with. It is your chance while the interview is still fresh in their memory to reiterate your enthusiasm for the position, address any concerns and again, highlight your experience for the position based on the interview. Remember to ask what the next steps are in the process during the interview and follow up where necessary. There is a line between following up and seeming desperate. Follow up calls or emails should be limited to every few weeks until the position is filled.
(Originally posted 4/10)