Although no best way of interviewing exists, we do have a list of “do’s and don’ts” in preparing for that important conversation with hiring managers that may help improve your chances for interview success. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a job interview is not being prepared. Preparation for a job interview makes the difference between getting that job offer or getting a rejection letter.
- Do research the company at which you are interviewing. By researching the company, you show that you’ve done your homework and that you are interested and engaged. An added advantage to researching the company is the ability to speak about the company culture, mission, growth strategy, and more in a clear and intelligent manner.
- Do prepare informed questions to ask if prompted. Once you’ve researched the company, make a list of questions on topics you’d like to know more about. Asking about your position’s growth potential and the future of the company can indicate to hiring managers that you are interested in a long-term relationship.
- Do bring an up-to-date copy of your resume. Also, proofread your resume for errors and highlight items on your resume that reflect the job you are interviewing for.
- Do maintain good posture, a neat appearance, regular eye contact, and a positive attitude. Most college career services offer mock interviews and interview workshops, but you can also practice interviewing with family or friends.
- Do send a thank you or follow-up note to the interviewer(s). A hand-written note will have much more impact than an email or text. A professional thank you note sets you apart from other candidates and has the added bonus of reminding hiring managers about your skills and experience.
- Don’t use your cell phone. Never take out your cell phone to talk or text during a job interview. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse and put it on silent. If you forget to turn your phone off, do so quickly and apologize to the interviewer if the phone rings or dings.
- Don’t interrupt or talk over the interviewer. While you are anxious to impress, interrupting the interviewer is not only rude, but shows that you are a bad listener. Be patient and let the interviewer finish what he or she is saying.
- Don’t misrepresent your experience, priorities, or background. In other words, don’t lie. Be as honest as possible about your capabilities and job experience and don’t exaggerate. Lies have a way of coming back to haunt you.
- Don’t speak negatively of current or former employers – or anyone for that matter. Nothing leaves a bitter taste in an interviewer’s mouth like someone who talks badly of other employers. Not only is it unprofessional, negative talk makes them wonder what you will say about them in the future.
- Don’t be late. Give yourself enough time to navigate possible traffic delays or mishaps. Arrive roughly 15 minutes early. Being late is a big negative during a job interview and only makes a stressful situation even more so.
“Much of this advice should be common sense, but experience tells us it’s not,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Interviewees should always set a high bar for themselves. Spend plenty of time researching the company, gathering your thoughts, and preparing for an informed discussion. Preparation is key to wowing your interviewer.”
Your job interview goal is to show the employer that you are the best candidate for the job and that you can fit into the company’s culture. Remember, most employers do not just look at skills, but at personality, communication skills, confidence, and enthusiasm. By following the simple do’s and don’ts, you are on the right track to receiving an offer.
Do you have your own list of do’s and don’ts? Share those with us here!
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.