You finally snagged an interview for your dream job, so obviously you’ve studied the company, and you can talk for days about why you’d be a perfect fit. But it turns out that 33 percent of bosses will determine whether they’re going to hire you within the first 90 seconds of meeting you, according to a survey by Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and HR technologies. Want to ace the interview? Here are the five top tips from the pros.
1. Don’t overdress.
You want to impress, so you should wear the best suit in your closet, right? Actually, if you’re wearing a suit and everyone else in that office wears leggings and flannel, then it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not going to fit in with their team, says Steven Rothberg, president and founder of College Recruiter.
If you’re unsure of what to wear, you can ask. Also, different people within the same organization may dress differently. Higher level people may dress in suits, while lower level people may be dressed casually, so you’ll want to be dressed as well or slightly better than the level for which you’re interviewing so that no one will feel uncomfortable. Sixty-five percent of interviewers say that clothing choice could be a deciding factor between two nearly identical candidates, Come Recommended’s survey found.
2. Show up at the right time.
This doesn’t mean to arrive too early, says Brandi Britton, district president of OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in administrative and office support professionals. “Plan to show up five to 10 minutes before your interview time,” Britton says. “Arriving any earlier than that may catch the hiring manager off-guard and make them feel like they’re expected to drop everything to meet with you ahead of schedule.” Factor in time to get through the office building’s security and the elevator system so that you’re not late, either.
3. Be polite… to everyone.
One way employers judge potential candidates is to see how they treat the first person they meet (usually the receptionist), Britton says. “Not only are your actions before the interview indicative of your manners and personality, but the receptionist or other individuals’ input can be obtained to sway the final decision,” she says.
4. Bring some gear.
You’ll need a good quality pen (not one with a bank or hotel logo on it), along with a blank pad of paper, says Barry Drexler, president and founder of Expert Interview Coach. If you’re interviewing for a tech job, swap out that paper notepad for the latest tech notebook or tablet.
5. Look the part.
“Be mindful of what your body language is saying,” Britton says. “Slouching, constantly shifting in your chair, crossing your arms, or wearing a tense expression can signal nervousness or disinterest.”
In a survey, bosses ‘fessed up that body language faux pas translated to interview fails. Want to have a fantastic interview? Then sit up straight (33 percent of interviewees have bad posture), look friendly (21 percent cross their arms over their chest), have a strong hand shake (26 percent have a weak handshake), don’t fidget (33 percent fidget), smile (38 percent don’t smile), look the interviewer in the eyes (67 percent fail to make eye contact), and don’t play with or touch your hair (21 percent have this habit), according to Come Recommended.