Even if new technologies helped you get a seat in front of the interviewer, the ways you’re going to wow him are downright old-fashioned.
No one cares about your fictitious online persona that instills jealousy in the hearts of friends and ex-lovers. Whether you receive the job offer boils down to how you come across in-person.
Let’s get ready for some good ol’ face-to-face, human interaction.
Do Your Homework
Alcohol and preparation are the only known cures for nervousness.
For obvious reasons, we’ll focus on the latter.
When asked, “What do you know about the company?” your reaction shouldn’t include a quick shoulder shrug coupled with “Uuuuh, I dunno.”
Familiarize yourself with the basics.
What products does your future employer sell?
What markets do they serve?
What challenges do they face?
Finding information on public or large companies is relatively easy. It shouldn’t be your only stop, but Google is a good starting point.
For small, privately owned organizations, you may need to dig a bit deeper for information.
You just need to know where to look.
Use the tools available through your library. Many great resources are paid for by your tax dollars. For instance, my library provides 24/7 access to premium websites such as ReferenceUSA, Business and Company Resource Center and Proquest.
If you need help, talk to a research librarian.
Prepare to Shine
Get ready to answer common interview questions.
If you “um” and “uh” through your responses, the interviewer will think you’re incompetent or full of shit.
I highly recommend reading 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions by Vicky Oliver.
You don’t need to memorize your responses.
You do need to practice your delivery.
Say your answers out loud while standing in front of the mirror. It feels a little weird at first, but no one has to know. Think about how you handled deadlines, difficult coworkers, and other job related stressors in the past.
Study the job description of the position you’re applying for. How are you qualified to fill the company’s need? And if you’re lacking some skills, what will you do to make yourself the best person for the job? Are you taking online, non-credit classes? What books, magazines or email newsletters do you read regularly?
You gotta be ready to talk about every objective, responsibility and accomplishment that’s on your resume…in detail.
For the love of all pork fried in bacon fat, please dress appropriately for the interview. Err on the conservative side. If necessary, ask your Human Resource contact if proper attire is business or business casual.
Arrive to your interview about 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. If you’re unfamiliar with the location, do a quick drive-by the day before. The morning of your interview is the worst time to learn your GPS device will have you driving in circles.
For city folks, splurge on garage parking. Your meeting may last longer than you expect. You want your mind focused on the interview not on how much you’re racking up in parking tickets because the meter expired.
Silence your cell phone. Don’t put it on vibrate. Silence that sucker or turn it off. Schedule a reminder in your calendar if need be.
Side Note: There should be a smartphone app or feature that automatically silences your cell phone at a set time. If there isn’t, someone should get on that pronto. And to whomever that person is, lemme say, “You’re welcome.”
Introduce yourself to the interviewer with a polite smile, a warm greeting, and a firm handshake.
Let’s stop here and talk about the art of a good handshake.
The interviewer is not a chilvarous gentleman and you’re not a virginal damsel, so don’t give him your fuckin’ fingertips when he extends his hand. Make your handshake full. Make it firm. Two pumps is all ya need.
Remember to thank the interviewer for carving time out of his schedule to meet you.
Oh, and uh, ruh, I should probably mention…no cussing during the interview.
Go ahead, and brag a little.
Show that you’re sure of your abilities.
The trick is to strike a balance between convincing the interviewer that you’re frickin’ awesome without simultaneously looking like a asshole.
Answer questions briefly, accurately, and honestly. Then, shut up. Rambling will only lead to you repeating yourself. You’re awkward enough as is.
Be careful divulging personal information. You want to be relatable, but you don’t know how the interviewer will judge you.
When asked why I was relocating to Washington, D.C. from Orlando, Florida, I told potential employers that I wanted to live in a more cultured metropolis. That’s true. But it is also true that I would’ve moved to New York City if my then boyfriend hadn’t accepted a job with the federal government.
Try to see yourself from the employer’s standpoint. It’s not about you. In the event you’re hired, the company will pay you for your service. How will you serve them?
Avoid criticizing your current or past colleagues and supervisors. Praise the companies you’ve worked for. If asked why you’re leaving or why you left your previous employer, keep the attention on you.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
Presumably, you’ve droned on and on about your qualifications during the entire interview.
People reeeally like to talk about themselves. So, try to word your questions in a way that focuses on the interviewer. For instance, “Fortune magazine says XYZ, Inc. was one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2011. Based on your experience, why do you think the firm received such recognition?”
Demonstrate you’ve done your research by asking the interviewer specific questions related to the company.
Shut it Down
Until you receive a job offer, avoid discussing salary and benefits. The interview is not the proper time to address such matters.
Conclude your meeting by reiterating what strengths and contributions you’ll bring to the organization.
Verbally express your interest in the company and the position.
If you didn’t receive a business card from the interviewer upon your first encounter, get one before leaving.
Again, thank the interviewer for his time.
If you think you’ve thanked the interviewer enough, you’re wrong. You’re gonna thank him again. Within 24 hours of your meeting, send the interviewer a genuine thank-you email that includes specific issues covered during your conversation. You don’t want to sound generic.
What tricks do you use to impress interviewers?