Interview Tips

Interview Tips

Nothing makes a worse impression. If you can't arrive on time for the interview, what on earth would you do as an employee? If there's even the remotest chance that weather, traffic or hard-to-follow directions might be a problem, leave absurdly early just to be sure. If your car is hit by a meteor, get to a phone and request to reschedule.​

Getting to your interviewers location at 3:30pm for a 4:00pm appointment is good; presenting yourself at that time is not. It will be perceived as pressure on the interviewer – and, most likely will make it look as though you have nothing better to do. Instead, go to a nearby coffee shop or book store to pass the time. Arriving five minutes before your scheduled interview time is best.​

​Clothing and grooming matters. Dressing too casually or flamboyantly can ruin your chances. The safest choice for any interview is a tailored suit in a conservative color like navy, gray or tan. Even the executives in creative fields will respect you for knowing that a job seeker should look business-like.

​If you select your clothes right before you leave, you won't have time to press wrinkles, fix any loose buttons or scuffed shoes. On the job interview, neatness counts. Try on your wardrobe choice the night before your interview and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.

​In one study, up to 90 percent of all executives surveyed said they'd hire a non-smoker over a smoker if their qualifications were equal. Avoid it.

​It's better to stick to mineral water or club soda. You need to be alert for the interview not mellowed out.

​Avoid it.

​It isn't necessary to memorize the annual sales and profit figures, but you should know something about the company you're interviewing with and its products or services. You can research and check out company information via the Internet or at your public library.

​Some interviewers will ask, "What is your greatest weakness?" Giving a straightforward, totally honest answer is a mistake; the interviewer doesn't expect you to. It's all part of a game to see if you're naive enough to eliminate yourself from the competition: counter the question by mentioning a "positive weakness." Say, for instance, "I'm a very organized person, but you'd never know it from looking at my desk."

​Researching the company is only half of your pre-interview assignment. You have to research yourself as well. You should know your own background thoroughly. You should be prepared to answer any question about yourself and employment history without hesitation and in enough detail to satisfy the interviewer. Hesitating or being vague on certain points will destroy the effect you are trying to create.

​If you were the interviewer, would you hire someone who monopolized the entire interview and possibly put you on the defensive?

​On the other hand, when the interviewer asks, "What questions do you have?" saying that he/she has covered the subject so well you don't have a thing to ask about is a bad idea too. It makes you look uninterested.

​If you seem more interested in the vacation policy or the dental plan than in actual job duties, the prospective employer may develop serious concerns about your priorities. You have a right to know about the benefits package the organization offers, but chances are the person conducting the interview will bring it up on his/her own. An attractive benefits plan is a selling point for them. If it's not brought up, you can broach the subject when salary negotiations begin.

​Let the interviewer discover how wonderful you are before you tell them how much you cost. If you're pressed early in the interview for your salary expectations, it may be more clever and professional to respond with, "Yes, I have some salary thoughts, but I need to know more about what this job entails."

​Avoid being branded as a complainer. Never say anything negative about a person or company you've worked for in the past.

​Dropping the name of someone at the company you're interviewing with could be detrimental to your campaign for the open position. Announcing that you went to school with the owner's or company president's daughter could come off as elitism. Worse, the interviewer may wonder why your name hadn't come up before. If you have inside connections, ask them to bring up your interest in the open position in advance of your interview.

​When you get to the interview, you have to appear bright-eyed and eager. Mental energy is what it takes, so psych yourself up before making your entrance.

Clock watching gives the impression that you're late for a more important date. Do not over schedule yourself. When you set up your interview appointment, ask how much time you should allow.​

In 999 jobs out of 1,000, you should be prepared to work as part of a team. Never convey the message that you could single-handedly turn the company around. Instead, stress how well your talents and experience would mesh with those of others in the department or division.​

Expect the unexpected. Remain calm, even though in your mind's eye you may be fleeing for the nearest exit. It may be important to the position you're interviewing for to see how professional and unflappable you can be under fire.​