Written and published by Ken Brown
You hang up the phone with a beaming smile. You’ve done it. You’ve landed an interview with the company you’re dying to work for! Moments later, deep under the surface, panic sets in. The apprehension, the planning, the driving directions, the follow-ups! Interviews always make for a stressful occasion. Hopefully, as a job seeker, these 10 interview tips (10 interview tricks) will help make the process go a little bit smoother next time you interview.
10. Knowing your interviewer is crucial.
Your potential new employer and the current interviewer is not your enemy. However, interviews, at times, can seem adversarial. In that vein, you could apply the Sun Tzu quote from the famous novel the ‘Art of War’ and simply replace the word enemy with the interviewer and replace the word you with ‘your resume’. The quote goes like this: “If you know the interviewer and know your resume, you need not to fear the result of a hundred interviews. If you know your resume but not the interviewer for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the interviewer nor your resume you will succumb in every interview.
Research the interviewer ahead of time so you can be knowledgable about their work history, specifically their time, experience and functional role with their current company. Commit to memory certain key facts about their education and interests that you can use to help keep the conversation alive should things go south. LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent practical/tactical tools to conduct pre-interview research. Glassdoor’s website is an excellent tool to research the company itself and you’ve completed researching the interviewer.
9. You can never be overdressed.
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Unless the company specifically tells you not to wear a suit as Google does to their candidates, dress up like you’re the CEO. You can always remove the jacket and roll up your sleeves should it seem appropriate when you arrive.
8. Commit the job description to memory.
Make sure you know exactly what the employer is looking for before you walk in the door. Have talking points prepared that reiterate the job description as to why you are a good fit. Quoting the job description verbatim will impress the employer and demonstrate your high level of preparedness.
7. Show up on time, which is exactly 5 minutes early.
Don’t be 30 minutes early, that’s annoying. Also, avoid rushing in right on time. Come in relaxed 3-5 minutes ahead of time. And it goes without saying, do not be late.
6. Do not chew gum. Do not wear cologne or perfume.
Hey Casanova, this isn’t a Tinder date! Don’t chew gum, at all. And please, please, please do not wear any of that ‘smell good’. It may be the fastest way to eliminate yourself. Many companies have instituted fragrance policies. The stricter organizations may ask you to leave before the interview even begins.
5. Treat everyone well.
Just because someone works the front desk doesn’t mean they don’t have a say in hiring. Sometimes very powerful people sit up front.
4. Bring supplies.
Just because you have emailed your resume to the company and have had three phone interviews doesn’t mean they have printed and prepared your resume. Bring multiple copies, bring a pen, bring a notepad.
3. Be concise.
Small talk is okay up front but once it’s time to get down to business make sure to think before you answer, make your point and be quiet. Silence will force your interviewer to speak. Rambling on is a very easy way to get yourself eliminated.
2. Ask Questions.
There usually comes a point at the end of the interview where the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Prepare two or three questions and be prepared to ask them. Make sure they are insightful, thoughtful questions and the information you are seeking is not publicly available. Do not ask questions simply to ask questions. Try to challenge the interviewer without offending them. Accept the answers and close the interview strong. Do not be afraid to ask for the job.
1. Send a handwritten follow-up note card.
In this digital age, you always send a follow up thank you email. But most candidates neglect to send a handwritten note. Sending a short and sweet follow up thank you note on card stock will undoubtedly separate you from the pack.
There is a lot more to interviewing obviously but this quick list should be enough to get you started! Practice with friends and relatives. Ask them to give you curveball type questions and try to trip you up. This will make the interview easy. Also, don’t forget to search the internet for interview practice questions as there are countless websites with questions to prepare you! Good luck!
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