5 Tips for Successful Interviewing
Competition is stiffer than ever these days; with many more qualified candidates fighting for the same job, what can you do to set yourself apart? In addition to some of the tips given in "10 Ways to Be Competitive in Your Job Search", here are some tips for the actual interview, which can sometimes be the most nerve-wracking part for job seekers. Take consideration of the following tips to assist you in your next interview:
1. Do your homework
Are you truly interested in the opportunity or are you simply desperate for a job? This will be evident if you haven't done your homework on the company you are interviewing with. What do they do? Are they local, national, global? How many employees do they have, what is their mission statement, what is their annual revenue, are they public or private? Most of this information is available on corporate websites. If you take the time to learn about the company, you will be better able to explain how you fit in to their plans and work environment.
2. Eat before you go
No matter what time your interview is taking place, it's always best to have a bite to eat before you head out; even if it's just a snack. This will keep your blood sugar in check should the interview run long. It's also a good idea to bring a couple of pieces of hard candy with you in your pocket or purse to prevent blood sugar crash (and subsequent yawning or zoning out).
3. Dress to impress
We've all experienced a morning where on the way to work, we somehow spill coffee on our shirt or get jelly doughnut in our laps. It's imperative not to do these things on the way to an interview. Don't show up with stained or wrinkled clothes, make sure your hair is clean and neat, wear deodorant and brush your teeth! These sound like basics but you would be amazed how many candidates I've met with that haven't covered one or more of these. The night before your interview, plan what you will wear; make sure it is clean (free of stains), ironed and ready to go. Men should always wear a tie, even when interviewing in a "business casual" environment. Additionally, facial hair should be trimmed and neatly groomed. Don't wear wild colors; purple is the kiss of death. It's best to stick to conservative colors such as black, brown, navy and/or gray.
4. Be prepared
Before heading out to your interview, make sure you have a paper copy of your resume and references and a notepad (binder is best). Your binder should contain a working pen and a blank notepad. The only exception to this rule is having notes for your interview; such as experience you want to highlight, strengths and weaknesses, etc. It's best to be prepared with questions for the interviewer ahead of time, so include those with your notes. Knowing what you want to say and ask ahead of time will make you appear more organized and less nervous. You'll want to take notes during the interview, too. Get names and any other relevant info; this is important for follow up since not everyone will necessarily give you a business card.
5. Keep your 'tude in check
No one likes a know-it-all. Be humble but not timid. Make eye contact, engage with the interviewer and SMILE. Don't fold your arms during the interview; your body language will say "I'm not listening!" Be cognizant of facial expressions and whatever you do, don't yawn! (and turn off that cell phone!)