As I have mentioned in previous blogs, there are more than 3 million students who have just graduated from college this spring and this got me thinking…how many are going to be interviewing for their first “real” job. Even though recent grads will benefit most, this advice applies to anyone and everyone.
There is so much to think about while preparing for, and getting to the interview, please allow me to list them in order:
Yes, a suit is always best, but if the company tells you to dress down still go in neat and clean. Iron your clothes and shine your shoes.
Turn off your technology unless you have an actual need for it.
I’ve actually taken calls while in interviews and won the role. I apologized and said a child needed to contact me to let me know about a ride I needed to provide. He was understanding which made me appreciate the company and manager even more.
Be on time!
This should be at the top, but I’m going in chronological order. On time is not actually on time, but 5-7 minutes before your scheduled interview. Too much earlier is not good because when the manager is called they might feel obligated to get you right away, but too close to on time could stress out the manager because of a tight interview schedule.
Smile and give a firm, but not Hulk like handshake.
This goes for both sides. I will not work with managers who give me a “hasty handshake”. That’s the one where they are so busy they just grab your hand and shake…usually grabbing your fingers and not allowing you to give a good handshake. It’s hasty and rude and if you can’t take 3 seconds to give me a good handshake then you aren’t worthy of my time. Can you tell I have had a few bad experiences with “hasty handshake” managers? Also, no need to overcompensate for your lack of stature with a ridiculously strong handshake. Yes, small people tend to overcompensate too much, so don’t. Females, don’t give a feminine handshake. This is business and you need to learn to shake for business. Knuckles vertical, thumb to the sky and put ‘er there!
Know your audience.
It might be difficult to know at first, but you will soon find out if this interview is going to be personal or strictly business. No matter what the role you can expect to start off with a little chit chat about the weather or traffic or upcoming Holiday, but don’t get too far off track. Give short but complete answers and always be cordial. You are having a conversation, so be conversational, but not overly so.
Don’t think interview, think Conversation.
Yes, it’s an interview, but don’t think of it that way. As I mentioned above, it’s a conversation you are having and it should get detailed about your experience and your personality, but don’t get stressed out. After all, you are talking about you and most people like talking about themselves. Just remember to keep the drama out of it, no matter how tempting it might be to “overshare”.
If you think you are “oversharing”, you are. Try never to lose sight of the fact that this is a job interview. I’ve had candidates call me after interviews and say they and the manager got along great. They chatted about old times like old friends for hours. The manager calls the next day and says, “what a great guy, but not a fit for our job”. See, the manager still needs to fill a job where someone is qualified to do that job. If it was the role of personal friend you might get it, but that manager is given the task of getting a job done. If you can’t do it, it falls on him/her.
If you leave an interview and feel that the interviewer/manager didn’t ask you enough questions to determine if you were a fit for that job then you are probably not a fit. They asked you a question early on that you failed miserably in answering and now they just want to be polite and not walk you out after 20 minutes. You have 2 options if this happens – Very directly ask if you are a fit for the role at the end of the interview and if you will be considered for the role, or the next round. You have nothing to lose! The second option is to outright say “I don’t believe we have spoken in detail enough about my related experience for me to have won this job, can I tell you about anything else or can I tell you about xx, which directly relates to this role. I have seen it work. If they are looking for a take charge individual these tactics can turn an interview around. Remember, you are interviewing from the moment you enter their offices (or the parking lot/elevator, depending on who you encounter) and it’s not over until you leave.
Thank the interviewer and on your way out the receptionist who received you if he/she is available. Even if they are on the phone, a friendly wave and thank you will not only be appreciated, but should go a long way in showing you value everyone at their company. For me this, just like holding doors for others, is something I grew up with, so it was handed down to me by my parents as courtesy. Some may think this is over the top, but why would extra courtesy and kindness be a bad thing?
Thank you note/Email
This has been blogged about many times by many people. Personally, I feel a thank you note is unnecessary, but others feel it is critical. A thank you email is always nice, but do what you feel good doing, no more, no less.
Hope this helps any and all with a bit of insight from a hiring managers perspective. Best to all for successful interviews all Summer long!
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume
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