10 Best Tips for Not Blowing Up Your Job Interview
Congratulations! You’ve gotten through the door and landed yourself an interview.
Now, you must sell yourself. Close the deal by demonstrating why you are the best choice to meet the employer’s needs.
Last year, Entrepreneur published a list of interviewing mistakes to avoid that I think offers a good place to start — but I don’t think it covers everything. That’s why I’d like to share some additional mistakes you want to avoid:
1. Not Managing Your Arrival Time
Rehearse the route to the interview in advance. Practice at the same time you’ll be going for real, as that will allow you to see what traffic conditions are likely to be on the day of your interview. Allow extra time for delays, accidents, full parking lots, busy check-in desks, slow elevators, etc.
2. Not Dressing Properly
Dress one level better than the employees. If they wear business casual, you wear jacket and tie, a pantsuit, or a blouse and skirt. If they wear jacket and tie, you wear a suit or dress. After you get hired, you can wear the jeans, shorts, and flip-flops like everyone else.
3. Not Maintaining Eye Contact
The interviewer should be concentrating on your answers, not questioning your interest. Put on your game face and shut out all else.
4. Not Having a Confident, Professional Handshake
The handshake is a lost art in our current age of hugs, high-fives, and fist bumps. Practice with a friend or family member until comfortable.
5. Not Finding a Common Interest Over Which to Bond
Find something that you have in common with the interviewer. Check their bio/profile on the corporate website, LinkedIn, and/or Facebook pages before the interview. When in their office, look for books, trophies, desk ornaments, plaques, photos of pets, or other signs of mutual interest you could use to break the ice.
6. Not Taking Notes
When you sit down, take out a pad and pen to write down any comments or notes. This will communicate your level of interest to the recruiter. Even if you doodle or never take any real notes, you’ll be ready.
7. Not Having Questions Prepared
Show respect for and an interest in the company by preparing ahead of time a few questions about the business or its recent mentions in the news. All your questions should be about the company, not yourself!
8. Not Asking For the Job
Don’t take anything for granted. Even seasoned politicians know to introduce themselves, shake hands, and ask for your vote.
9. Not Writing a Thank-You Note to Every Person You Met
Email is good, but handwritten is better. Send separate notes to the receptionist, administrative folks, human resources staff, and interviewers — basically, everyone you meet. Each of them will share feedback about you, so don’t forget anyone.
10. Not Following Up on Your Status Weekly
If the interviewer gives you a specific date or range of dates for follow-up, be patient. If not, then it’s fair to email or call the office to check on your progress and reiterate your interest.
Ferris Kaplan is founder of Best Of You Resumes.