Follow these suggestions on your next job interview and I bet you have good results.
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Dress For Success
If life is a stage, then dress for the part you want to play.
When you go on an interview, please by all means possible, dress up! Even if you live in Florida, like I do, flip-flops and shorts should be reserved for home or beach attire. I mean, unless you are interviewing as a surf instructor, wear dress pants or a dress as appropriate for your gender.
A three piece suit is a bit overkill unless you are interviewing for a very professional position, say a lawyer. However a coat and tie may be called for in most office jobs. Modest outfits are in order no matter the position. Unless you are applying for a club job, reserve the party dresses for weekend or personal nights out.
Nice, clean clothes are called for during any interview. Wrinkles must be ironed out. Please don’t go in there full of wrinkles looking like you slept in those clothes. Hey, you may think I am being silly, but I have done hundreds of interviews. Believe me, people need to heed these suggestions
Take a shower and use deodorant. Unless your perfume or cologne is lightly scented, maybe leave it off for the interview. Many people these days seem to have allergies and strong scents can be offensive.
Use a breath mint or spray prior to walking into the interview. Just saying, it may be a good idea.
Be On Time
Plan ahead to be on time.
When I say “on time” I really mean be early. Fifteen minutes early to be specific. This gives you time to find a restroom or water fountain, if needed, prior to your appointment. This is a good time to pop that mint.
Make sure you know how to get to the location for the interview. I know GPS and Goggle Maps are a big help, but make sure you know how to get in the parking lot and to the office, especially if the building houses more than one business. It would not hurt to do a dry run.
Print out your resume and take it with you.
Nowadays, resumes are often emailed prior to interviews, but please take a printed copy with you. Things happen and you want to be prepared come what may.
For goodness sake, please take a black or blue ink pen. I can’t tell you how many ill prepared applicants I offered a RED ink pen to when they asked for something to fill out an application. The red ink was a sign to the interviewing manager that the applicant came in unprepared. It matters. If you don’t care enough to bring a pen to the interview, what kind of employee will you be? Think about that mean teacher in school, who got on your case about not having a #2 pencil for class!
Update Your Resume
Always keep your resume current.
When writing your resume, keep it simple and use spell check. Write complete sentences and do not use text jargon or emoticons.
If you are applying for a creative position, feel free to show your work in a portfolio or even in a creative resume. Otherwise, it is probably best to keep to the usual format, showing previous employers with position and duties in order of most current to oldest. Unless the experience is specifically for the position you are applying, only show the last ten years of employment.
Use upper and lowercase letters, not all CAPS. Typing in caps is generally viewed in a negative way by interviewers.
Mind Your Manners
Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and eye contact. (COVID update: fist bump or air handshake may be in order. Take your cue from the interviewer. Mask and hand sanitizer may also be needed.)
Don’t squeeze too tightly and remember to give the full hand. Please no dead fish or grabbing just the fingers.
Wait to be asked to take a seat. Sit up straight, no slouching or propping up of your feet.
Be pleasant and conversational, but don’t get too chatty. Let the interviewer take charge. Answer questions fully and ask your own. Probably want to wait to be told about vacation, holidays, sick pay and that sort of information. Asking about it only makes you look less interested in the position and more interested in the benefits only. However, everyone has a personal life and you may have prior vacation or family plans. These should be discussed up front.
It’s generally seen as uncouth to ask about pay and it is usually not discussed in the first interview unless the position is a posted one with predetermined pay rates. Employers often take in all the applicants, study the pros and cons of each. Then they may make an offer to the chosen applicant. At that time, pay is usually discussed.