Just getting an interview can be hard, especially in today’s economy, so when you do get one, it is important you hit a home run every time. Coming in unprepared is the best way to waste a great shot at a job. There’s a few easy things you can do every time which will ensure you make a good impression on the prospective employer.
Be Prepared – What does it mean to be prepared for an interview?
- Look up the company website and learn everything you can about them. What year it started, what they sell, where their headquarters are, company philosophy, slogans, growth rate and future plans.
- If you don’t already know, find out who will be interviewing you and who their boss is.
- Write down a list of questions you have for the company on a notepad that you are bringing in
- Have an idea of the salary range you may get from them so you don’t undersell yourself or ask for a ridiculous amount of money.
- If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, make one. If you have one, update it. Employers do look so make sure the account is professional, up to date and relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Check your Facebook account and make sure you don’t have any inappropriate pictures or comments on your page. Again, employers look, and you don’t want the person interviewing you to be offended by you before you walk in the door.
- Make sure you’re well groomed and if you have piercings in places other than your ears or Tattoos all over your body, the interview is not the time to show them off. Unless of course you are applying at a Tattoo or piercing shop or similar industries where looking the part is aligned with the company’s mission.
Dress to impress – Wow them from the start
- Make it a rule of thumb to always dress at least one level up from standard company attire. If everyone wears T-shirts at work, wear a polo and slacks to the interview. If everyone wears polo shirts to work, wear a suit and tie. When in doubt of the company dress code, wear a suit and tie. If you don’t have a suit and tie, go to goodwill and pick one up for $20.
- Do not wear perfume! Everyone has their own sense of what smells good and bad. If you choose a perfume or cologne the interviewer doesn’t like you will probably not get the job, so why chance it?
- Make sure your shoes are polished and if you wear heels, keep them under 3 inches. It’s all about being professional so you should look the part.
- Keep the colors neutral, the interview is not a great time to break out your new clubbing outfit. Red anything is out of the question because it portrays passion and anger. Instead, use black or grey, with blue or green accents if you’re wearing a suit. For the ladies any combination of these four colors will work.
- Show up 5-10 minutes early. Never, ever, show up late, that’s minus 100 points in the mind of the interviewer. Also, don’t show up too early as that will most likely irritate the interviewer who thought they had time to accomplish something and now suddenly they don’t.
- Bring an extra resume with you for the interviewer and hand it to them even if they don’t ask for it. Don’t assume they remembered to print your resume because sometimes they don’t and it creates an awkward situation if you don’t have an extra.
- Give a firm handshake and make eye contact when you meet the interviewer. If you’re nervous, wipe your hands off before shaking their hand because nobody likes shaking a sweaty hand.
- Answer their questions truthfully and tailor every answer to how it applies to the position you are interviewing for.
- Never disparage a former employer, even if you used to work for Mr. Evil. It’s tasteless and makes the person interviewing you wonder if you will talk bad about them.
- Talk about how you believe your skills that you’ve acquired will help the business, not the other way around. Nobody cares about how the business will further your career, they care about how you will further the company.
- When the interviewer is done asking their questions, pull your notepad out and systematically go through the questions you wrote down that were not already answered. This shows you are organized, care about the job opportunity and put thought into the interview beforehand. All huge pluses in the mind of the employer.
- Always ask the employer if there are any concerns they have about you that would keep them from hiring you. If they say no then your answer. in good humor, should be “Great, when do I start?” If the answer is yes, you need to immediately address the concern and repeat the question again. If this time they answer no then say “great, when do I start?”. If they say they need to do more interviews then say “Great, when is a good time for me to come in and interview again?”. This may sound aggressive and it is, but your chances of being hired will go up three-fold this way. In fact, it works so well that I have only done a second interview before being hired once in my life.
Walk out with a plan and another firm handshake. Never leave not knowing what’s next, whether it’s coming in to fill out paperwork next week for your new job or coming back for a second interview. In this way you will leave a positive lasting impression on the prospective employer and make it nearly impossible for them not to give you a strong consideration. Last but not least, take two minutes out in your car to write a thank you letter and drop it off in their mailbox before you leave. Your thoughtfulness will impress them and may just be what gets you the job over someone else.
By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan