Top 10 Interview Tips
by Karen O’Keefe
Whether you’re a manager or not, consider the following checklist the next time an interview is about to commence. As an interviewee, these actions might give you a competitive edge. As an interviewer, they might help set your standards on how you rate potential candidates.
- Be punctual. If necessary, drive to the interview location the day before to ensure you know how to get there.
- Prepare for the interview. Research the company and its products and services, and make sure you know the company’s correct name. Stating the wrong name probably won’t earn you a second interview.
- Relax and be yourself. So many times, people stress over a job interview. Your best bet is to be the best, professional version of yourself, and look at an interview as an adventure. You are likely to learn something new and useful, even if you aren’t the right person for the job.
- Smile and be friendly. An interview is not the time to be shy. A warm smile goes a long way toward establishing a good first impression and rapport with the interviewer.
- Use a firm handshake and direct eye contact. A limp handshake or lack of eye contact can make you appear ill-at-ease and possibly less than honest.
- Bring copies of your resume and portfolio. Interviewers don’t always have a copy of your resume available and you will seem ultra-prepared if you have extras. A leather portfolio containing samples of your work is also impressive. Of course, the type of job you are applying for dictates what goes in your portfolio.
- Look the part. You want your potential employer to be able to visualize you in the role. Good grooming and professional appearance are important. Even if you know the office is typically business casual, a well-fitting suit makes an excellent first impression.
- Ask questions. Make sure you have prepared a few questions ahead of time. Typically, interviewers gauge your interest in the position by whether you ask questions.
- Bring a planner or pad of paper and a pen. This way, you can take notes or even write down your questions if you tend to get nervous.
- Write a thank-you note. Make sure you get business cards from every person who interviews you and send a handwritten note to each one. Make sure you spell their names correctly. So few people write thank-you notes that this alone will create a positive impression.