My Top Ten Interview Tips

  1. Research and Preparation – really, don’t wing it.  Just because a friend works there and you think you know enough about the company, doesn’t count as research.  Read the website.  Read all of the latest news.  Understand what they do.  It’s not hard!  Not doing the research is a total turn-off and shows an utter lack of respect for the person who is meeting you.
  2. Know exactly where you are going because – If you are early, you’re on-time.  If you are on-time, you’re late, AND If you are late, You are NOT hired!!!   Traffic doesn’t cut it.  Got lost- lame!  If you are flying in and they booked your travel giving you just enough time but your flight was delayed, ok, call and let them know. But really, there are very few valid excuses.
  3. Dress.  Now I get this question all the time.  And, the answer is not as simple as it used to be.  The pendulum goes back and forth.  In the dot com days, a casual company expected an interviewee to dress casually or they just didn’t fit in.  And, vice versa.  Now, it helps to know something about the dress style of the company and dress a bit nicer.  A suit is almost always acceptable.  A suit for a guy without the tie is good for a business casual atmosphere.  Casual is never ok in today’s atmosphere.  Just because you are coming from work and you currently work in a casual company, there is no excuse for not throwing a jacket in your car and putting it on before you walk in.  Use some common sense.  If you don’t have any common sense, ask a professional for some advice.  Here’s a tip for guys- wear socks- always.  I never in a million years expected to have to say this.  Lesson learned. 
  4. Bring extra copies of your resume.  You are making the job of the interviewer easier.
  5. The first 30 seconds are critical. Smile, look your interviewer in the eye, have a warm, friendly, firm handshake.  The limp handshake is a total turn off.  If you are not sure about your handshake, practice with a friend who will be honest with you.
  6. Based on your research, you need to have some good questions prepared.  Demonstrate your curiosity and prove you did your homework. 
  7. If you are doing several interviews in one trip and you feel your energy waning, ask for a 5 minute break and for a cup of coffee or a Coke.  No one will take this as a negative.  And, if they do, that’s a big red flag for you. 
  8. Some interviewers might not be as experienced at interviewing.  Don’t be put off.  Don’t get critical and start feeling offended.  Just gently take some control.  Start asking more questions.  Have that person tell you about themselves, get them engaged.  Maybe they are as nervous as you are.  Have some empathy.  It’s a major turn off when I talk to a candidate who feels that they are somehow superior to the interviewer. 
  9. Thank you notes.  YES.  It’s a simple way to stand out.  An email is perfectly sufficient.  Handwritten is a nice touch but often, there isn’t time. 
  10. Follow-up.  YES.  Don’t be a stalker and call every day.  If you haven’t heard back after your prompt (same day) thank you note within 48 hours, call the hiring manager or recruiter to follow-up.  If there isn’t a decision, ask that person when you should follow-up again just in case you haven’t heard. You have just gotten permission.  Then, put it on your calendar.  No news is not necessarily bad news despite what you are thinking.  Patient persistence can win the day.

About annspoor
Ann Spoor is the Jerry McGuire to Corporate Executives and Professionals. She is an Executive Talent Agent, Executive Coach, Career Manager, Executive Branding Expert, and Social Media Coach. Ann lives in Denver with her husband Mark and their 2 kids. The Leadership Lattice is an interview series conducted by Ann Spoor CEO & Founder of Executive Lattice. The series focuses on Leadership in the private & public sector. Please subscribe to this blog to follow along in the discussion.

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