There is sort of an art to interviewing well, and I want to share some of my tips with you. Some of them are popular, and you’ve probably heard them before… but some may be new to you! They are all simple and will help you show your best self in an interview.
- Make eye contact. Nobody likes to feel that they aren’t being listened to, or that the person they are interviewing doesn’t care.
- Shake hands firmly, but not so firmly that the other person feels their bones crack. I have noticed that some people do not know how to properly shake hands. Sometimes men give the “wet noodle” when shaking hands with women and this can come off as condescending. Sometimes people shake too firmly and it hurts. There is a happy medium that you should try to find. Also- grip with your whole hand, not just the fingers. If your interviewer does not offer their hand, offer yours. This is an important tool to make an impression! It’s not a bad idea to offer your hand to shake as you are leaving, too.
- Arrive early, but not too early. Showing up 5-7 minutes early is good practice. Showing up 20 minutes early could make people uncomfortable.
- Call your references ahead of time. Ask permission to list them as a reference. The last thing you want is for one of your references to say something negative, or worse: say they don’t remember you!
- Dress appropriately and modestly. This may mean wearing a suit, but it may not. If you are interviewing for a professional job out of college, a suit is great. If you are a teenager interviewing for your first part-time job, some pressed slacks and a nice shirt are fine. BE MODEST! In today’s culture, many young women feel that they should be able to wear whatever they want and nobody should say anything. Maybe it is your right to bare it all, but you probably won’t get hired. Wear something that is cut high enough to cover your cleavage (or for men, your collar bone) and skirts should come to the knee. Wear closed-toe shoes. Sandals and peep-toe are not appropriate for all jobs and you want to make sure you are appropriate. Clothes should be clean and pressed. Wrinkles are sloppy and may make you appear dirty, unkempt and disorganized. Have your clothes professionally dry-cleaned if possible. Keep jewelry to a minimum and keep your hairstyle neat and simple.
- No cologne/perfume! You want to be clean and smell fresh, but some people get headaches from colognes and perfumes. It would be awful to give the interviewer a headache. They might not hear a word you say.
- Research the company you are interviewing with. It’s important that you know a little bit about who you are wanting to work for. It will make you look informed and responsible.
- Ask questions. Come prepared with at least one question about the company or the position. Bonus points if it is a good one. It needs to be more than “What is a typical day like?” Remember, you are worthy of the job and you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. A good fit is a great way to ensure longevity. If you are in a position or company that is not a good fit, you will most likely be starting your job search over again really soon.
- Send a thank-you note. A short note to than the interviewer for his/her time is a nice touch. You want to have it all done and mailed same day, so that it gets to the interviewer before they have made their hiring decision.
I hope these tips help you in your next interview process. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments!!