While many are great at our jobs we may be positively dreadful at the interview. Here are some guidelines to help you confidently navigate the interviewing process in our highly competitive hot global job market:
Preparation: Research the individual/company. Dress appropriately. Please know that Professional Attire is "never wrong." Un-encumber, leaving overcoats, etc. in the car. Everything about you speaks of quality... including pens.
Attitude: Walk through the doors as if you already work there, as if the person with whom you are interviewing is already your boss/manager.
Remember the 15 minute Rule: arriving "on time" means 15 minutes early (cell phones/pagers: off!) STAND in the reception area. Hold portfolios/briefcase in left hand, leaving right hand free to shake hands. Initiate the handshake (regardless of gender) and make eye-contact. Ask before assuming first names. Allow them to lead (they know the way!) Decline offers of hospitality (avoiding crumbs and worse - coffee breath!)
Seating: They are seated first. Choose the least comfortable chair. Remember to select the chair angular verses across from interviewer (eliminating the desk/barrier.) Hands belong on the table (you are "above board.")
*Body Language including sitting, gesturing, fidgeting, gazing about, etc. are all noticed/judged.
- Exchange cards (use "calling cards")
- Bring extra resumes
- Ask before taking notes
- Take personal notes to use in subsequent communication
Be prepared to tell your 'story' including choices you made, why you made them and how they have led to the next level which has brought you here today.
References - ensure they are willing to speak well on your behalf!
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - ensure that you have nothing out there about which you would not want a perspective employer to know or view.
Leadership - Even with administrative positions, interviewers want to know if you would be that person others look to in stressful/unusual conditions.
Compensation: Wait for the interviewer to initiate this topic.
Accomplishments - discuss in a non-boasting way i.e. "I was fortunate for the opportunity to..."
Interview the interviewer, as well.
If you want the job, ask for it.
Thank you notes: send an email thank you (after you have determined they are e-culture) and a personal thank you note the same day. The longer you wait the less impact the gesture holds. Use personalized stationery, blue ink and a postage stamp.
Above all, be yourself. Project a positive attitude and you will attract positive attention, reaction and results, whether you want the job or, not!