Not-So-Obvious Job Interview Do's and Dont's
<p>Getting your dream job isn't just a matter of sending in a great application and ending up employed. First you have to get through the interview stage, and for many people this is the point at which things go wrong. What seemed like a sure thing can end up fizzling out, and often unsuccessful candidates have no idea why they're failing to make that final cut.
Interviews are more than simply putting in some face time and ensuring you have a politically correct and cliche response for everything. People who successfully ace job interviews usually put a lot more work into their interview preparation than others. Job interviews can seem like a real minefield, but with a little proactive preparation, excited personality, and application of these 39 Not-So-Obvious Job Interview Dos and Donts, you will make it hard for your future employer to hire anyone else.
If you're applying for multiple jobs, juggling interviews can get a little stressful. Organization is key at this stage, as it can be very embarrassing to get the jobs you are applying for mixed up, during your interview. If you've ever ended up on the phone talking to a recruiter or potential employee and forgetting which of your current applications they're talking about, its time you follow a system.
Do: Keep a notepad or list of current jobs you are applying for. Include company details, the date you applied, contact names, roles and phone numbers and a summary of the job description. The next time the phone rings or you go into an interview, you can grab your notes, quickly review, and make sure you're on the right page.
Do: Use a diary or calendar application to keep track of application submission and interview dates and times, that way you'll never miss an application deadline or come to the realization that you missed your interview because it was actually at 1:00 pm instead of 3:30 pm.
Don't: Use your workplace calendar to track interviews, even if your current employer knows you are seeking a new role. You still need a reference from them, and making it look like you've already mentally checked out of your current role can harm your future prospects.
Preparing For Your Interview
Once you've secured an interview, it's time to get to work. You should already have done extensive research into the role and the company during your resume writing process, but now it's time to dig deeper. Being prepared for interviews is essential, and you can never know too much about a company before walking into your first meeting. Aside from general company knowledge, you need to be prepared to answer questions about your work history, current knowledge of the field you work within and your possible approach to the role you are applying for.
Do: Look up the people you know you'll be meeting with. Check out their LinkedIn pages, company profiles and professional achievements, and try and get a sense of what seems to motivate them. This will help you build rapport and highlight views or approaches you might have in common.
Do: Spend some time researching the company online, familiarizing yourself with their major projects, services, mission statement and values, departments, charity connections, events, and other corporate news. Interviewers love to ask you what you know about their company, and having a detailed answer already thought through and prepared shows that you're taking them seriously.
Do: Consider relocation issues beforehand if there is a chance that this role might require you to move away.
Do: Think about what you’d do if you were taken on as an employee, and come up with a few ideas that you might want to implement if you get the job.
Do: Understand the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and where you might fit into the picture.
Do: Ask a friend to give you a mock interview with practice questions and role play. If you haven’t had many interviews in the past this can help get rid of nerves, help you to clarify what you want to say, and the feedback you get will be valuable.
Don't: Leave interview preparation until the last minute. If you're serious about wanting a particular job you should be serious about putting the time in to prepare yourself for the job interview.
Look the Part
You already made a great impression with your resume, now it's time to back it up with your wardrobe. It's a good idea to try and find out what the dress code is at the company you're interviewing for before you go, as some can be very trendy and up to date while others prefer the 'old money' style of grave suits and sensible dress shoes. Try to fit in with the style of your potential workplace while making sure you stand out - for the right reasons. If you don't have a go-to interview outfit it's time to hit the stores! If you are having a hard time finding out what their employees typically wear, get a coffee and hover near the office for ten minutes so you can take note of what the people going in and out are wearing. Corporate websites also often have employee photos that can give you a sense of their style and culture.
Do: Make sure your outfit fits properly, is flattering to your body style, is modest, and looks good on you. When in doubt, go with conservative and business formal. You never want to look more dressed down than your interviewer.
Do: Accessorize stylishly with elegant ties, statement necklaces, a good quality purse or briefcase and smart, polished shoes. Even the most somber dress or pant suit can be jazzed up with a few tasteful, eye catching accessories. Just don't get too carried away or go overboard.
Don't: Wear the same outfit to a subsequent interview with the same company. As well as giving your interviewer a sense of deja vu it makes you look unimaginative and cheap.
Don't: Wear the same o utfit you were wearing to interviews ten years ago. Move with the times and make sure your outfit is smart, fashionable up-to-date, and tailored to fit your current shape.
Don’t: Wear immodest or revealing clothing. You aren’t there to show off your chest or your well-toned arms or legs, you are there to make a credible and classy impression with your dress and conversation. Distracting clothing makes it hard for interviewers to concentrate on you.
Getting to Your Interview
Aside from actually spilling something on your interviewer, nothing looks worse than being late. Plan your route out in advance and do a dry run if needed, and always aim to arrive at least 15-20 minutes early. If you end up being super early you can take a walk around the area, get some fresh air, rehearse your interview question responses, refresh your memory on the company, or do a little people watching.
Do: Take a map with you or have the address of the interview location mapped and ready to go on your GPS so that you can use it if you get lost.
Do: Add an extra hour to the time you plan on being in your interview. This will allow you time if the interviewer is late or if there are additional employees or managers that want to interview you.
Don’t: Schedule events that are supposed to end right before an interview is scheduled to start. This situation almost always involves some unforeseen issue that causes you to be late to your interview.
Once You Arrive, it’s important to remember that from the moment you drive up to the building, you are being watched. How you treat the receptionists, assistants and other staff will be noticed, and you may be surprised at how many employers ask their support staff for first impression feedback.
Do: Be pleasant to everyone you meet, and assume you are being observed at all times. In most cases, you probably are.
Don’t: Get stressed out or take it personally if you are kept waiting. Keep a positive attitude and make sure you have the time to allow for delays - it’s not unusual for interviews to start late or go over schedule.
Meeting Your Interviewer
When you meet your interviewer for the first time, be confident, open-minded, and relaxed. Smile, make small talk when appropriate, ask genuine questions, and do your best to portray an attitude of attentive interest.
Do: Remain calm! Your interviewer is a normal person just like you, and there is nothing to be stressed about. They brought you in to interview because something about you stood out and seemed special. Prepare well and focus more on how excited you are to be there than on your fear.
Do: Be aware of your body language. Make eye contact, give a firm handshake, try to keep an open stance by not crossing arms or legs, and once again, keep flashing your natural smile! Strong body language makes a lasting impression and shows that you’re confident under pressure.
Don’t: Forget that the interview started the moment you drove up to the building. Don’t drop your guard, confidence, or positive vibes until after you’ve left the office.
During the Interview
It’s show time. First of all, relax. Showing signs of nervousness, talking too fast and interrupting the interviewer are all things to be avoided. Think before you speak and don’t feel you have to fill every gap in the conversation with noise. Listen carefully to everything the interviewer is asking and saying rather than missing what they say because you’re too busy thinking ahead to what you want to say next.
Salary negotiations are one of the more delicate parts of the interview. If you know the expected salary is in-line with what you expect, let the employer bring it up as it is most likely a non-issue. If the salary is unclear or unfavorable, wait until the end of the interview and ask what the salary range is for the position. This will help open up the salary conversation.
Do: Open with a 30 second elevator pitch that sums up your skills, experience, and goals. Be sure to explain how they are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Do: Answer questions clearly and concisely, without unnecessary tangents, waffling, or repetition of words like ‘um’ and ‘like’. Make your responses interesting, well considered and relevant to the question.
Do: As you answer, express your personal passions, integrity, workplace ethic, and show the interviewer how that makes you a great fit for this job.
Do: Be confident, energetic, and excited. You don’t have to be cocky or arrogant for people to see your strengths and realize why you would be an asset. Calmly and confidently talk about your skills and strengths and what makes you different and better than other candidates.
Do: Watch your interviewer’s facial expressions and body language. An observant candidate can see the way the interviewer is responding to them and will change tracks if a reaction isn’t positive or will continue on the same if what is being said is positively accepted.
Do: Be aware of your own body language and maintain a relaxed, open stance. Sit up straight and avoid crossing your arms or legs.
Do: Be prepared to ask questions of your own. These questions should demonstrate your knowledge and interest in both the company and the position. Additionally, if a term is unfamiliar or a practice unclear, ask for clarification. It’s much better to ask than make a wrong assumption.
Do: Research the salaries of comparable positions in your area and come prepared with a realistic compensation range in mind. Asking about benefits and time off is also appropriate if done with tact. Be confident in negotiating salaries and benefits.
Don’t: Interrupt or talk over the interviewer. Never assume you know what they are going to say next, or try to guess at what they want to hear.
Don’t: Start talking until you have thought through what you want to say. When you’ve finished speaking, end your sentence in a way that makes it clear that you are sending the ball back into the interviewer’s court.
Don’t: Be afraid to ask what the next stage of the process is and when you can expect to hear back from them.
After the Interview
The interview process doesn’t end until you either get the job or receive a rejection, so don’t be passive by waiting too long before following up. Always send your interviewer a follow up email or letter the next day, thank them for the opportunity to interview, express your continued interest in the role, and tell them you’re excited at the prospect of working with them. This can push an interviewer over the edge in your direction in situations where other candidates are comparable to you.
Do: Email your interviewer to follow up - even if you don’t get this position they’ll remember you favorably if you apply again or use them in networking.
Do: Carry on applying for jobs. One good interview is no reason to rest on your laurels.
Do: If you are turned down, graciously thank them for their time and politely ask for feedback on what factors they used to make their decision. It doesn’t hurt to understand what might have been missing and this feedback will help you better prepare for future interviews.
Don’t: Pester the interviewer or recruiter with requests for updates, feedback or a final decision. A simple email or call to follow up, along with waiting patiently for a response is best. Irritating people with impatient requests can very easily turn a yes into a no.
Don’t: Get discouraged if you are turned down. As with most big things in life, it sometimes takes working through a lot of nos to get your yes.
By Staff Writer, SimplyJobs