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Job interviews are one of the most stressful situations. And given the difficulty of scoring an interview, you want to make the right impression as soon as you meet the hiring manager.
Suggested Reading: Job Interview Tips
Dress to Impress but Don’t Stand Out
While most companies have relaxed their dress code to business casual, it’s ok to wear a suit to impress. However, if the standard attire is jeans and sneakers, don’t show up in a suit and tie.
- The general rule is to dress one or two levels higher than the job. You should not worry about being overdressed.
- There is a delicate balance between being “too made up” and dressing too casual.
- Avoid skirts that are too short or tight.
- Carry a jacket just in case you decide that business casual is too casual.
- Ensure your shoes are polished and not scuffed
- Don’t put on excessive perfume or aftershave (less is more).
- Google the firm’s dress policy or leverage LinkedIn to check with people you know or who might know people who work in that same company.
Be on Time
There is nothing worse than being late for an interview. Sometimes “stuff” happens, but leave yourself extra time to arrive on time.
- Try to make a “dry run” to the interview location the day before. This way you will know how long it takes to get there and will already be familiar with the area.
- Leave time to “check-in” at the security desk. This can sometimes take a very long time (making you late for the interview).
- Don’t arrive too early. Hiring managers have their day scheduled, arriving too early is not wise.
Don’t Arrive Empty-Handed
Make sure you have everything you need to be prepared.
- Bring several copies of your resume. The hiring manager may not have one printed when you arrive. Bring extra copies in the event you meet additional people.
- Bring a pad and paper. You may want to take notes during the interview. This will also help to show that you are serious about the opportunity.
- While you may be asked if you would like something to drink, bring a bottle of water in case you get “dry mouth”.
Don’t Be Too Casual
Remember, you are not meeting a buddy, you are interviewing for a job. While some of these points may seem obvious, just in case . . . .
- Don’t chew gum during the interview.
- Turn off your cellphone (and certainly don’t take it out during the interview).
- Don’t look at your watch.
- Don’t forget to smile.
- Make eye contact with the interviewer.
- Firm handshakes are great, but don’t try to crush the interviewer’s hand (likewise, limp is not good either).
- Don’t try to make any jokes, everyone has a different view on what is funny (and you want to be professional).
Take the time to properly prepare for the interview.
- Do your homework. Have a full understanding of the company, where they fit in their industry and why this would be a good fit for you.
- Leverage LinkedIn to get some inside information on the interviewer and corporate culture.
- Google the company to see if anyone has posted typical
- Prepare your own questions (and ask).
- Be prepared to provide specific examples that demonstrate your experience or skills.
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Be Balanced in Your Remarks
- Don’t speak badly about your current (or former) company or managers.
- If you are unemployed, don’t say that you were fired or asked to leave if possible.
- Don’t ask about compensation in the early rounds. If you are asked about your expectations, know your worth in the current marketplace and what indicates a salary that is in the upper range (but not more than 10% to 20% above what you are currently earning).
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