Dress to Impress
Select an outfit pertinent to the industry and position you are interviewing for. Make sure it is cleaned and pressed. Traditionally, men and women should dress business formal. If in doubt, it is better to over-dress than under-dress. Avoid excessive makeup and especially perfume (the interviewer may be allergic). You may want to strongly consider losing the nose ring as well. Looking sharp will help increase your confidence and promote a positive first impression. For more tips on dressing to impress, go to Quintessential Careers
Be on Time
An old expression goes "Early is on time, on time is late," so plan on arriving at your interview 15 to 20 minutes prior to its scheduled time. This gives you time to fill out any forms, allows time for getting lost and demonstrates your punctuality.
The Right Attitude
Have a positive attitude. Put all your negative concerns away for a bit and concentrate on the task at hand. Smile. Offer a firm handshake, but don't try to crush the interviewer's hand. Maintain eye contact (but don't stare—it's creepy) and speak with confidence. If you are nervous, speak slowly (not too slow—also creepy) and be clear.
Ninety percent of interpersonal communication is nonverbal. The interviewer is going to learn about you based upon your answers and especially how you deliver your answers. You should approach the interview with a cool, relaxed attitude, but not so relaxed to find yourself leaning back in the chair, nor so rigid as to move like a robot. Basic things to keep mind include to maintain eye contact, sit straight and conduct yourself accordingly for the duration of the interview. Don't excessively "talk" with your hands, stretch, yawn, scratch yourself, chew gum, stare at your shoes, clean your fingernails or anything else that would give the interviewer an unprofessional impression of you.
Bring Multiple Copies of Your Resume
If you are going into an interview, then it is correct to assume the organization already has your resume on file. Bring at least three copies anyway. Provide your interviewer(s) with a fresh copy on quality resume paper (as opposed to the dog-eared fax they may have). You may also need copies for the HR people you may meet with as well.
Bring Your List of References
Bring at least three copies of your list of references. The list should be formatted just like your resume (same font and style) and should also be on the same quality resume paper. Make sure you get permission from your references to use their names.
More Stuff to Bring
You are going to need to store all those copies of your resume. No, you cannot fold them and put them into your pocket. Invest a few bucks into a nice, professional-looking binder or folder that will be able hold your resumes, reference lists, company information, list of prepared questions and a pen and pad for taking notes.
Conducting a self-assessment is crucial to successfully navigating through the interviewer's line of questions. A self-assessment will help make you aware of your strengths, weaknesses, goals, values, skills and abilities—
necessary information that will make you feel more confident and comfortable answering questions about yourself. Visit your campus Career Center for access to self-assessment tools
or do some research online. Frequently Asked Interview Questions
"Tell me about yourself." This is the most-asked interview question. The interviewer is not interested in your three cats, how often you attend Miami Dolphin games or your favorite ice cream flavor. This is your opportunity to get the interview rolling by describing your education and work history. There is a plethora of information available online—
simply run a search for "top 20 most common interview questions" or visit your campus Career Center
. Most interviewers will ask these questions in one way, shape, form or another, so be prepared. Your self-assessment is key to answering the majority of these questions. Taking the time to research and prepare for these standard questions will take a lot of the worry out of your upcoming interview.
Research, Research, Research
Research will help in every facet of the interview. We already discussed researching yourself and self-assessment; and now we move on to researching the organization for which you will interview. Nothing impresses an employer more than knowing about their organization. Research demonstrates professionalism, initiative and a sincere desire to work for their organization. It also helps to prepare you to answer questions like, "Why do you want to work here?" "Tell me what you know about our organization." "What are your salary expectations?" Those are just the basics.
Before you go into your interview, make sure you know about:
- The company's history
- Where their headquarters are located
- The organization's principals
- Their industry
- Their products and/or services
- The customers they serve
- The size of the organization
- Any other information relevant to the position for which you are applying.
You can find this information by visiting the company's website, in industry publications or simply by stopping by the company before your interview and asking for promotional materials or an annual report. An excellent approach is to speak with current employees of your target organization. They will be able to answer your questions and can also give you important insight into the organization's corporate culture.
You should also research the position itself. Find out as much information as you can before
the interview about typical duties and responsibilities, work hours and especially salary data. Online resources such as Salary.com
can help you find out what a particular position is paying in certain geographic areas. The Occupational Outlook Handbook
is also another great resource.
The more information you can gather, the better. You will be more prepared and will feel more confident, hence leading to a good night's sleep before the big day (get a good night's sleep and that's another fundamental of successful interviewing). If you need assistance with your research, visit your campus Career Center
and we will be happy to show you how to get it done. Prepare a List of Questions
Having a prepared list of questions indicates your interest in the company and position and demonstrates your professionalism and preparedness. When the interview is close to being over, 9.5 times out of 10 you will be asked: "Do you have any questions?" Instead of answering with, "No, you basically covered everything," impress the interviewer(s) with questions which reflect that you did your homework. Don't be afraid to read off of a list. This is also an opportunity to move the job application process along by asking closing questions like, "How soon will you be making a decision about this position?" Map Out Your Destination
Getting lost on your way to the interview just doesn't look good and is a lame excuse for being late. Either go online and use a map service like MapQuest.com, or simply call the organization's receptionist and ask for directions.