More and more of us are updating our resumes and re-entering the world of active job seekers. The reasons for going back into the work force or changing jobs may be varied, but the bottom line is still the same—it is scary!
I have a friend who told me that she literally started her own company because she couldn’t stand the thought of having to go through the interviewing process again. Yes, this may be on the extreme side, but let’s face it—the whole process can be nerve-wracking to say the least.
I know that some of the tips below may include a little of the duh factor, but it never hurts to review.
1. Learn as much about the company as you can before your interview. Do your homework—it will pay off. Spend time going through the website. Companies take great pride in their websites and will provide a tremendous amount of information (good and bad) pertaining to their company.
2. Arrive a few minutes early so that you don’t appear rushed or frantic. If you are not exactly sure where you are going, do a practice-run prior to the day of your interview. You will feel much more in control of the situation.
3. Bring a copy of your resume along with a sheet that contains telephone numbers and addresses of your references in case you are asked to fill out an application.
4. Make sure your cell phone is off before you walk into the interview. If it goes off during your interview, you will not look important—you will actually look rude and careless.
5. Offer a strong, firm handshake while looking the interviewer in the eye both before and after the interview. I was taught to pump the hand once or twice with a secure, steady grip and then let go immediately… thankfully, some things never change. Remember, a handshake that is too strong can make you appear aggressive and a meek handshake can make you look wishy-washy and it can also make the interviewer uncomfortable.
6. It is easier said than done, but smile, be polite and try to relax as much as possible.
7. NEVER EVER complain about your previous boss or company. Even if your complaints are justifiable…keep them to yourself. Employers do not want to hire disgruntled employees, so stay positive.
8. Listen carefully to the questions you are being asked and answer them as clearly and directly as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to restate a question if you need clarification. If you don’t know the answer, just say you don’t. Honesty is always the best policy.
9. An interview is also your chance to ask questions about the job and the company. Asking appropriate questions makes you look interested and engaged.
10. Don’t forget to thank your interviewer at the end of your interview for their time and the opportunity to meet about the position. This sends a message that you understand and appreciate the value of the time invested in you. Remember that your interview is not officially over until you write and send your thank you note. Tailor your thank you note to the culture of the company. If you feel the interviewer and the company are more formal, then your thank you note should be typed and mailed. If you feel the culture of the company is more relaxed, then send an email. Of course, no matter what the company’s culture is, if you know that they are going to be making a quick hiring decision, send an email thank you note immediately. The bottom line: It doesn’t really matter which way you do it, as long you do it.
Remember you have what it takes…you got the interview didn’t you?