Interviewing for a job is statistically proven to be one of the most anxiety-inducing events in a professional’s life. In fact, according to a study by Harris Interactive and Everest College, 92% of U.S. adults said at least one thing stresses them in a job interview. These stressors range from “being too nervous,” to “being stumped by an interviewer’s question.”
But not to fear! WIT members Fatina Johnston and Jennifer Ure, from De Forest Search, have been kind enough to compile their interviewing tips based on 20 years of accumulated feedback from their clients.
So, whether you have an interview on the horizon or just feel the need to sharpen your skills … we agree with Fatina and Jennifer when they say you can never be too prepared.
This includes tidy hair, clean shoes and clothing. Do not wear anything that is too revealing (too short, too low cut, too tight) wrinkled or unclean. If wearing nail polish, make sure it is simple and not chipped. Do not wear any cologne or perfume. This is one of the biggest turn-offs with our HR clients. When in doubt, dress more conservatively than you think you need to, because every company has a different standard of attire.
You can never be too prepared; do your homework! Make sure you’ve done your research on the company and the people you will be interviewing with, as well as the industry in general. Bring a few copies of your resume – at least one for each interviewer and a couple extra just in case.
Don’t be afraid to check the interviewer(s) out on LinkedIn so that you can find common ground, as well as come up with some great questions for each interviewer.
Do not be late. If you are running late, CALL BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED INTERVIEW TIME. Even if you are only 5 minutes behind, call and let them know. If it is going to longer than that, ask if they would prefer to reschedule. Also, do not show up over 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled. It is ideal to check in for the interview 5 minutes before it is scheduled to begin.
Be engaged/engaging: Make eye contact and smile. Do your best to mirror your interviewer with regards to pace and attitude, and be very wary of body language (non-verbal cues). Take notes during interview, so that you can reiterate back to them, during a recap, what your understanding is of the requirements for the job.
Express strong interest in moving forward. Don’t be afraid to ask for the job. Make sure that you answer all questions succinctly to make sure that you demonstrate responsiveness without overstating. You can always elaborate by asking the interviewer directly if their question was answered. Sometimes it’s a good strategy to ask if all questions were met to their satisfaction and if anything needs further clarification. This gives the interviewer an opportunity to determine if something was overlooked or just needs more clarity. Sometimes even a soft close is a nice touch, for example: Is there anything holding me back or preventing me from moving forward in this role?
- Don’t chew gum during the interview.
- Don’t exaggerate your interest or qualifications.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Don’t ask about compensation right off the bat. Although compensation plays an important role in your decision to accept a job, it is best to allow the interviewer to bring it up first. And always respond with “I’m flexible depending on the entire package and opportunity.”
- Don’t be negative, and don’t disparage former employers, colleagues, and companies. Stay away from self-deprecating comments which do not support a positive image or demonstrate competence.
- Don’t get too relaxed in your seat. Sit closer to the front of your seat, and keep your energy, drive and motivation clear at all times.
- Don’t leave your cell phone on during an interview. Either turn it off or silence it. If it goes go off in the interview, do not answer. Hit the ignore button and apologize for the interruption.
Request business cards, so you can follow up with a thank you email within 24 hours of your interview. Make sure that thank you notes are very customized to the company and the opportunity. Do not write a generic thank you note that could be distributed to 100 different companies.
Follow up with your recruiter after the interview to debrief. If you’re working with a recruiter, you might also send her/him a draft of your thank you letter, note, or email so they can help to customize it perfectly for you.
Have questions or need advice about interviewing? Contact Fatina or Jennifer!