Save Yourself by Avoiding Interviewing Deadly Sins
You've cleared the first hurdle and had your resume accepted. Now, it's on to the interview. This can be one of the most intimidating parts of the job search, because it means you have to convince someone you are the best person for the job. Preparation is vital if you're going to be successful, and that involves much more than ironing your shirt and polishing your shoes. Avoid the interviewing deadly sins by showing you are the whole package: you know how to present yourself well; you are knowledgeable about the company; and you are going to bring enthusiasm to the job.
The First Impression
From the moment you walk into the office, you need to look professional. Wear clothes that are appropriate for the workplace; you won't want to show up in casual khakis when everyone else is in a suit. If you are unsure of the dress policy, you can call the human resources department and ask.
Clothing should also fit well and be in excellent condition. If they aren't, these interviewing deadly sins may give the employer the impression that you don't really care about the job. It's usually safest to dress conservatively, no matter the policy. Also, avoid wearing a lot of jewelry.
It's not just your clothing that should look attractive. Run down the checklist your mother gave you before heading to school.
- Is your hair neatly combed?
- Are your hands clean and nails trimmed?
- Did you brush your teeth?
- Did you spit out your gum?
The way you smell can make or break even the best meeting. Stay away from heavy perfume or cologne or you will be committing one of the interviewing deadly sins; just because you like the scent, it doesn't mean your future employer will. Similarly, be sure you don't have body odor or bad breath.
Appearance aside, you also need to show you are compatible with the company. Treat the receptionist, and anyone else you meet, respectfully. When you finally meet the interviewer, give a firm handshake.
Lastly, get control of your mannerisms. This isn't a time for cracking your knuckles or tapping your feet incessantly. It may help you calm down, but it will likely just make the other person irritated, neither of which are likely to put you on the short list.
Know Your Material
When you sit down to talk with the hiring manager, you should be ready to express your knowledge of the company and interest in the job. If you've waited until now to contemplate possible questions, you are likely in trouble. Plan ahead: research the company so you can intelligently answer and ask questions.
Avoid using words such as "umm" and "uh," or taking long pauses to answer a question. This gives the impression you don't know why you are there. Some job seekers may waste time insulting a previous employer, thinking perhaps it will make them appear smarter. It doesn't and if you do so, you are committing one of the interviewing deadly sins. It simply shows a lack of respect that your new boss won't find attractive.
Overly short answers can also be detrimental. Prepare ahead of time for possible questions and be prepared to tailor them to fit the interview. When it comes time to ask questions, show genuine interest in the job.
Even if you weren't a cheerleader in high school, this is the time to show your pep. If you look bored and lack enthusiasm, the interviewer may feel that you aren't interested no matter what you say. Maintain a high energy level by sitting with correct posture and staying involved in the conversation. The employer should know that you want the job.
You want to come across as a professional, but that doesn't mean you should act unfriendly or distant. Try to build camaraderie. Show your confidence by smiling when appropriate and by keeping eye contact. Remember to turn off your cell phone before the meeting begins so you won't be distracted.
It's possible to avoid the interviewing deadly sins, providing you are willing to put effort into it. The key to a successful dialogue comes in three steps: first, look professional; second, plan ahead so you will be knowledgeable; and third, show that you want the job. These actions can help you stand out against the crowd and show that you are the right person for the job.