When the interview comes... be ready!

TIP # 1

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions!

So, you’re getting an interview!  Congratulations!  You’ve heard the saying that perception is reality… well, it’s true! How you are perceived is how you really are to the people who interact with you. How you dress, groom, and conduct yourself speaks volumes to others who are evaluating you continually during your visit. The impression you make provides insight to others as to what kind of employee you will be. Therefore, it is imperative that you make a good first impression!

Wear a navy or dark grey suit, solid or with pinstripes, and no vest. Compliment this with an appropriate shirt. Conservative thinking advises a white or light blue shirt or blouse, and these are always good choices. Do not dress casually, even if the company has indicated they maintain a casual environment. Wear a suit (pant suits are advisable for women as are dress knee-length skirts.) Your outward appearance gives credence to what your boss can expect of you on the job. When you look professional and act in like manner, it exudes confidence and people will notice.

For a woman, do not wear a dress or a ruffled or revealing blouse. Wear low-heeled shoes that compliment your suit (no stilettos and nothing with open toes.) Nylons should be free of defects and color-appropriate. Do not carry a purse. Carry a small leather briefcase or a zippered note case with a pen and paper. Do not wear excessive jewelry and keep the earrings conservative. Do not wear perfume, cologne, or fragrances of any kind. Your goal is to appear self-confident, knowledgeable, and professional.

For a man, hair should be well-groomed and at an appropriate length. Beard and/or mustache should be short and trimmed. Nails should be short and clean. Wear a long-sleeved shirt with pointed collars and do not wear a shirt that requires cuff links. Wear a conservative tie with moderate design and colors that compliment your suit. Wear your suit coat unbuttoned with a black belt and polished black dress shoes. Needless to say, black socks are a must. Do not wear jewelry except for a wedding band (if married) and a watch. Do not wear cologne or fragrances of any kind. Carry a small leather briefcase or a zippered note case with pen and paper.

TIP # 2

Remember Why You Are There!

Your sole purpose for being in front of a hiring manager is to gain employment. The hiring manager needs you and has been searching for you. You have a lot to offer, but in the end, it is the employer who holds the key to either giving you a job or showing you the door. A poor image, inappropriate behavior, or a negative perception can quickly end your chances of being considered for hire. Your mood should be pleasant, upbeat, and enthusiastic without arrogance.

Take care of personal hygiene needs prior to leaving for the interview. Carry mints with you just in case bad breath hits before interview time and arrive at least ten minutes early allowing time to find a restroom, comb your hair, and gain final composure. Plan your route ahead of time and execute the drive the night before so you know exactly where you are going and are aware of any potential delays along the way. If you are late to the interview, or are going to be late, your chances for creating a good first impression are diminished since it demonstrates a lack of preparedness. Do not arrive late!

Treat everyone you meet with dignity and respect. Express yourself confidently and enthusiastically. Remember that you are competing against others who want this job. You must be the one who stands out. You have a brief window of opportunity to make a lasting impression on the people you come in contact with. Proceed into the interview as a self-assured and well-balanced individual—a professional well-suited to fill the job opening.

TIP # 3

Know Your Résumé!

Most people struggle with their résumés, unsure as to what should go in them or how they should be presented. Others have difficulty with spelling and grammar and cannot easily put their career history into writing. These are a few reasons why it is a good idea to have your résumé professionally prepared by writers who know what hiring managers are looking for.

Once your résumé is prepared, study it inside and out! Review it until you are certain what it says and how it ties together with the position you are interviewing for. You never know what areas of interest will catch the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager. It might be a certain skill you have demonstrated, or specialized training you have received, or your steady history of career growth. You don’t want to be caught off-guard having to think about something the interviewer has read and is asking you about. Revisit your résumé from the viewpoint of the hiring manager and anticipate the questions he or she may ask. It will help you prepare the right answers and strengthen your understanding of how to translate your past experiences into problem-solving techniques for the person who is looking to hire you.