In this day and age it can become increasingly difficult to even get your foot in the door and get an interview; once you’ve accomplished that you will want to make sure you continue to put your best foot forward and nail the interview as well. Unfortunately, as great as their skills, experience and education are; the interview is where many people lose a job opportunity to their competition. Understanding what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in an interview are critical to receiving a job offer.
Tip # 1 Dress appropriately. If you don’t take the time and effort to wear appropriate clothing to the interview, you will lose the job before you even get a chance to explain why you are the best candidate. What you wear to the interview will greatly depend upon the industry or field for which you are applying. Any office related position will require that you wear clothing that is no more casual than a button up shirt, slacks and tie for men and either a nice slacks/skirt and blouse combo for ladies or a dress/suit. Only under rare circumstances would you need to wear anything more casual and this generally includes fields such as transportation, construction, mechanics, etc. Additionally, clothing should be conservative and preferably reflect neutral tones. Avoid excessive jewelry. Don’t go overboard on the use of cologne or perfume. Many people suffer from allergies and the last thing you want to do is cause your prospective employer an allergy attack.
Tip #2 Go to the interview alone. There is absolutely no reason for anyone else to attend the interview with you and this includes parents, children as well as spouses and significant others. If you are having a friend or relative drive you to the interview, politely ask them to wait outside for you. If for some reason, you are unable to obtain childcare for the time of your interview, phone ahead and politely ask to reschedule. While this is not the best way to start off your relationship with the employer, it is a much better option than taking your child with you.
Tip #3 Pace your conversation during the interview. There is a fine line between not talking enough and talking too much. Answer questions directly, elaborate when necessary but don’t ramble.
Tip #4 Make sure you are polite to everyone you meet while you are waiting for your interview. This is extremely important because 1. These people may be your future co-workers and 2. You never know who has the boss’ ear and will report your rude behavior or unseemly conduct once you’re out the door.
Tip #5 Arrive early. If your interview is scheduled for 1:00 pm; make sure you are there no later than 12:30 pm. It is quite common for employers to ask candidates to complete applications and other paperwork prior to their interview, whether they specify this when they schedule the interview with you or not.
Tip #6 Make sure you are prepared for the interview. This means that you have both practiced for the interview and have brought along all materials that you may need for any circumstance. (pens, pencils, notepad, extra copies of your resume, etc.) Also make sure you have copies of your drivers’ license and Social Security card in case the employer needs to make copies for future employment records.
Tip #7 Be honest! This cannot be emphasized enough. Employers many times move in the same social circles and there is a very good chance that if you fib during an interview you will be found out sooner or later. Even if you have already been hired, lying on an application or during an interview is grounds for dismissal with most companies.
Tip # 8 Don’t smoke or chew tobacco just before or during your interview. Also remember to spit out gum, if you chew it. Additionally, if you do smoke, remember to spritz yourself with light cologne or perfume before you meet with the employer as well as pop in a breath mint.
Tip # 9 Turn off your cell phone and pager prior to your interview. There is nothing more insulting to an employer or disrupting during an interview to have a cell phone or page continue to ring/beep. Let your voice mail catch any incoming calls.
Tip #10 Be enthusiastic! Let the employer know how interested you are in the position and what a great job you can do.