At Noll Human Resources Services, we have a lot of experience with interviews – on both sides of the table. In order to help you go into your next interview confident and well informed, we’ve put together 10 key tips for acing your interview and getting the job you really want.
1. Research the company
Know what the hiring company is about and how the position fits into their “big picture.” Determine if the service the company provides is something in which you are interested in and can support. For instance, if you were a vegetarian, you would probably not enjoy working in a meat packing company. Based upon your research, prepare questions that come to mind about the company and position. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, ask the questions you prepared. This shows initiative and that you have done your research.
2. Don’t create a time crunch.
Do not schedule anything around your interview that could create a time crunch. Successful interviews that result in a position can be short (15 minutes) or long (2 hours).
3. Practice good hygiene
Bathe the day of an interview, even if you usually bathe at night. You want to be as fresh as possible. Use deodorant, keeping in mind that your body may react in a stressed way. Nails need to be neat and clean. Make sure hair is neatly combed/styled. For males, be clean-shaven or if you prefer to have facial hair, make sure it is neatly trimmed. For females, it is a good idea to wear natural looking make-up. Men and women should avoid wearing strong fragrances (or skip fragrance altogether to be on the safe side).
4. Dress appropriately
Even if the company has a “business casual” dress code, it is better to be slightly over dressed. Wear a suit or a jacket with matching skirt or slacks. Make sure that dress shirts under a jacket are clean, pressed, and conservative. If you can, wear a shirt prepared by a laundry or cleaners. They have a crisper look. Always wear socks or hosiery.
5. Know where you’re going
Make sure you have clear directions to the location of the interview. If you are unsure, drive there ahead of time or allow plenty of extra time to get to the interview.
6. Make sure your phone is off
Completely off – don’t even keep it on vibrate.
7. View all forms you complete as a test for the position
If you are instructed to complete a form, make sure you spell things correctly and completely fill out all requested information. Do not put “see resume”. The hiring company has asked for the information in that format for a reason. Many companies use this part of your interview as a partial determiner of your fit for the position.
8. Be yourself – but be professional.
Don’t try to charm the interviewer or act different than you would normally act in the work setting. Maintain professionalism and do not use slang, profanity, sarcasm or be negative. Have good posture, adopt a positive attitude, and answer questions honestly and professionally. Also, do not disclose personal information or problems because this information is not important to the job and may not show you in your best light. Stick to business!
9. Refrain from criticism and negativity about previous employers
Be honest about why you left positions, but don’t be negative. Before you interview, practice answering questions about your previous employment.
10. Don’t try to read the interviewer’s notes
If the interviewer is taking notes, keep your eyes forward and do not worry about the information they are taking down. The interviewer may need to take down information to relay to other decision makers. Also, they may have their own shorthand or coding that would only confuse you or cause anxiety. Trying to see what the interviewer is writing will distract you from answering well and makes the interviewer uncomfortable.