A job interview gives you a chance to shine. What you say and what you do is going to either move you to the next round of consideration for employment or knock you out of contention. It doesn’t take much to make an impression – good or bad. If you haven’t taken time to dress appropriately or if you say the “wrong” thing, it will be over.
Take the time to prepare your interview technique including knowing what’s on your resume, being able to present why you are qualified for the job, why you are interested in the company, and practicing staying calm and focused. It’s important to remember that the image the interviewer has of you when he first meets you is the one that is going to last.
Know the Facts
I’ve been surprised when applicants weren’t able to tell me their dates of employment or what they actually did on a day-to-day basis at their job. Review your work history – and make sure what you say matches what’s on your resume. Take the time to learn about the company and about the job you’re applying for.
What You Don’t Say
What you don’t say can – and will – be used against you in a job interview. If you come to an interview chewing gum or drinking coffee, you will already have one strike against you. Too much perfume or not enough deodorant won’t help either. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to music while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike and you could be done with your candidacy before you even say a word.
What You Do Say
Your verbal communications are important. Don’t use slang. Speak clearly and definitely. If you need to think about a response to an interview question, that’s fine. It’s better to think before you talk than to stumble over your words. Practice answering some interview questions so you’re comfortable responding the basics.
It can be easy to get distracted during a job interview. It’s stressful and you’re in the hot seat when it comes to having to respond to questions. That said, if you do your best to listen to what the interviewer is asking, it will be easier to frame appropriate responses.
What you don’t say during an interview is as important as what you do say. What’s important, when interviewing, is to appear professional and attentive throughout the interview process.
Tips for phone interviews, second interviews, lunch and dinner interviews, behavioral interviews, interviewing in public, and more advice for interview success.