As a hiring manager of a large company previously, I held countless interviews looking for the best possible fit for various positions. It was my duty to recruit prime candidates and facilitate the hiring process, which included resume qualification, phone pre-screeners, and of course, the dreaded face-to-face interview. There are a lot of job seekers that look good on paper but are unable to sell themselves in person during an interview. If you cannot sell yourself in an interview, you might as well kiss the job opportunity goodbye, especially in this current job climate in which everyone is looking for a job.
Below are eight tips you can use during your next job interview written from a human resources perspective that will leave a positive impression on your prospective employer. Following these tips can put you on the callback or job offer list and increase your chances of landed the job you want.
- Do Your Homework- Know the company you are interviewing for inside and out. A face-to-face interview is a perfect way to show your research skills and knowledge. How long has the company been in business? What is the company’s mission statement? Knowing what the company does of is important, but HOW do they do it? What makes them successful? Who are the key players? I cannot tell you how many people I interviewed who had no clue what our company was about, which usually turned me off during the interview. Do your research, take the initiative, and I promise it will go a long way during the interviewing process.
- First Impressions Are Key- Dress professionally, that is a no-brainer. Also when waiting for the interview, be mindful of your body language. Sit up straight, be focused and ready, and put away the cellphone. When I gave interviews, I would always call the front desk receptionist and asked her what my interviews looked liked in terms of quality. She would give me the inside scoop, telling me if someone was on their cellphone texting, or chewing gum, or biting their nails. I would immediately write her assessment on my notes. Remember, from the time you walk in that door, you are being watched. Be professional at all times and that will ultimately help seal the deal for you.
- Be Timely- Arrive at least twenty minutes early for your interview. One of the worst things you can do is be late for an interview due to traffic or other unforeseen circumstances. If you are extremely early, wait in your car for a little bit and go over possible interview questions and responses, or sit in the lobby and prepare your mind for the interview.
- Size Up the Competition- Oftentimes when you interview, there are others also going through the same process at the same time. There may even be a group type of interview where you are interviewed with more than one person. Know your competition. What do they have that you don’t and vice-versa. Use your skills to give a great face-to-face interview. Be mindful of how you are perceived by others.
- Eye Contact- Eye contact is pivotal during a face-to-face interview. Keep your eyes on your interviewer. Smile. Relax. Be professional and ready to answer questions honestly and correctly.
- Honesty- The worst thing you can do during a job interview is to lie. All it takes is a few phone calls to check out your background. Never lie during an interview. All hiring managers know that people embellish their accomplishments, which is acceptable, but lying is not. If a prospective employer asks you why you were fired from a position, be honest. Most interviewers will tell you as long as it wasn’t subordinate, dishonesty, thievery, or things of that nature, you will still be in the running for the position if you have the knowledge, experience, and good work ethic.
- Be Active- During the interview, be actively engaged in the conversation. This is the time for you to show what you have. Don’t be robotic or standoffish, be candid and thorough. An interview is not only the opportunity for you to sell yourself, but for the company to sell themselves to you as well. If are asked if you have a question, never say no. Think of at least two questions to ask so that the interviewer knows you are actively engaged. Smile. Shine. If you want this job, show it, but of course do not appear overbearing, or over enthusiastic. Practice answering possible questions but do not memorize or give static answers. It is usually evident when one does this, which does not appear to be genuine but staged.
- Follow Up- Follow up with your interviewer. Send a thank you note or letter, short and sweet, thanking them for the interview. Sell yourself once again for the last time, but be brief. This shows initiative and a true desire to work for the company.
Using the tips above will not only help you give a great interview, but will also make a positive impression on your prospective employer. Good luck with your job search and with your next interview!