- Do not arrive late. Even if the location is a new one to you, if you plan your route and schedule your time beforehand, you should not have a problem. If the interview is around rush hour and you are driving, you can plan accordingly if you know where you are going. If you are using public transportation, keep in mind that trains and buses are frequently late. That should not be an excuse for you to be late. Give yourself enough time. Plan to be ten to fifteen minutes early. Arriving any earlier can make you appear overly anxious. You can always walk around the block or wait in a building lobby if you are too early.
- Leave your outerwear in the outer office. There is usually a closet or coat rack for this purpose.
- Never apologize for your lack of experience or credentials, or anything you may perceive as a liability. Remember that someone thought you were qualified for this position; otherwise, you would not have been called in for an interview.
- Do not chew gum or eat mints. Do not bring in coffee, juice, or any other type of container.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid negative comments about a past employer, colleague, or organization. Avoid discussions of a personal or potentially volatile nature, such as those regarding race, politics, religion, or feminist issues.
- Do not lose your temper. If you do not agree with the interviewer's point of view, and even if you are asked an illegal question, remain calm. Remember that you are under no obligation to accept the job or work for this organization. You want to leave the interviewer with the best impression of you by being professional in your demeanor.
- Do not sermonize or overpower the conversation in an effort to sell yourself. The line between being confident and arrogant is frequently a fine one. If you oversell yourself in an effort to appear confident, you may lose the job. This is where practicing before the interview can be useful. A friend's appraisal of your performance may help you to set the right tone in answering questions, particularly difficult ones.
- Although you want to project self-confidence, be careful about sounding too cocky. Be realistic about your talents and qualifications, but remember that a touch of modesty helps.
- Be courteous but not effusive or insincere!
- Do not call the interviewer by his or her first name, no matter how friendly he or she may appear. On the other hand, avoid using "sir" or "ma'am," because such forms of address make you sound inappropriately subordinate to the interviewer.
- Do not wear sunglasses. Make eye contact with your interviewer.
- Do not tap on the desk, jingle change, or display any other nervous mannerisms. If you are unaware of your nervous gestures, ask a friend to alert you to them. Once you are aware of them try to avoid them.
- Do not look at your watch. Let the interviewer set the pace of the interview. Be alert to the interviewer's actions. When he or she gets up, that is a clue that the interview is over.
- Do not ask, "Will I get the job?" or "Can I have the job?" Rather, state, "I hope that you will consider me for this position. I really am interested."
- Do not ask about salary until later on in the hiring process, perhaps at a second interview. The interviewer will generally bring it up. If it is brought up immediately in the first interview, simply postpone the discussion by indicating that you would like to first know more about the position and what it entails.
- Do not be evasive. If a question seems too personal, indicate how you feel about it but perhaps you misinterpreted what the interviewer was asking. As subtly as possible, change the topic. For example, you could refer to a previous discussion and ask a relevant question.
Now that you have some idea of what employers are looking for, let's ex-amine the actual interview and what goes on.
Arriving for the Interview
- You should arrive approximately fifteen minutes early. The receptionist may hand you an application form to complete. In some firms, the interviewer may be notified of your arrival immediately. This means that you are being observed, in terms of your efficiency in handling a routine form. Therefore, you will be at an advantage if you simply complete the basic items: name, address, telephone number, social security number, date, and position for which you are applying. In the section entitled work experience or work history, attach a copy of your resume that you have brought and write, "See Resume." You do not need to complete the section requesting your salary requirements. Print all information legibly with a professional pen that you have already used and know works properly. Do not use pencil.
- If you are asked to wait, use the time to observe your surroundings rather than become engrossed in reading materials. You may also want to review another copy of your resume that you have brought along.
- If you are detained for any length of time, it is reasonable for you to ask the receptionist if you understood correctly the time you were scheduled to come, particularly if you have scheduled another interview for the same day. This can be a courteous request; the manner of your question should assure this.
Beginning the Interview
The interviewer ushers you into his or her office, and you both try to establish some rapport. Sometimes this can be as casual as commenting on a recent major event such as the weather, sports or other areas of small talk.
- Do not use this opening phase as a time to criticize or complain about anything such as faulty directions given you, the difficult commute, heavy traffic, or anything else that would mark you as a complainer.
- Use caution also in any compliments you may feel obligated to offer.
- Avoid personal comments on photographs, unless they arise naturally from the conversation (for example, you are discussing a sporting event and the interviewer has a photograph displaying a trophy).
- Anything personal may be totally inappropriate, so follow the lead of the interviewer in this opening phase.
See the following articles for more information:
- 21 Major Interview Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- The Best Way to Prepare for a Job Search and Interviews
- How to Talk About Other Interviews in Your Interviews
- How to Answer the Tell Me About Yourself Interview Question
- How to Answer the Do You Have Any Questions for Me Interview Question