The Do’s and Don’ts During In a Job Interview
Congratulations! Your resume and cover letter impressed your prospective company’s hiring team! Now for your next step, impressing them even further during your interview.
Your interview is your chance to meet your potential employer in person (or via video chat) to present yourself as YOU, and not just the person that your resume and cover letter say you are. Throughout the process of your interview, it is vital that the way you present yourself is to optimal performance. Make sure to get a strong grasp on elements that can enhance your interview experience like your body language, attire, attitude, etc. Following the basic “Dos and don’ts” of presenting yourself during an interview can be the difference between nailing the interview and never hearing back from your interviewer. With that said, here is a list of our dos and Don’ts in a job interview.
Do: Be Timely
For starters, there is no such thing as being fashionably late to a job interview. If you are late, you are late. Arriving on time, and even better, early, to the interview sets up a good first impression for your interviewer. But arriving late can completely dismantle your chances of working for that company. An ideal time to arrive at your interview appointment is about 5-10 minutes early.
You may have heard of the phrases “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” or even “dress for success,” or “dress to impress.” Do not take this advice lightly, dress professionally during your interview. If you are not informed on what level of professional you should dress, from business casual to business professional, it is better to be safe than sorry and go with business professional. Stick with the classic solid-colored suit and complement it with a tie. Your dress shoes should also be a solid color, staying between black and brown; choose the color that best matches your suit. Dressing professionally sets a great first impression for your interviewer, setting you ahead of any underdressed competition before the interview even starts!
Do: Demonstrate Proper Body Language Etiquette
For starters, your body language says everything about you. Make sure to maintain a good posture for the duration of the interview, leading up to it, and as you leave. It can be the reason your interviewer gets a negative first impression before you even say anything! Sitting and standing up straight is a great way to positively affect your first impression. It shows attentiveness and interest; and although it does not set a huge lead between you and the competition, it gives you a better start than if you were to slouch your shoulders or slump into your chair.
You should avoid any type of fidgeting or distracting, nervous actions. Tapping your foot and/or shaking your leg can create unwanted distractions from the conversation like distracting sounds, shaking the table, or creating unwanted thumps in the floor that your interviewer may feel in their feet or chair. Cracking your knuckles and back is another set of distracting movements. It takes both your and your interviewer’s attention away from the conversation and directs it towards any hand movement you make to crack your knuckles or the way you twist your body to crack your back.
Do: Maintain Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact is another key tool to use during your interview. Avoiding eye contact (even when it is not on purpose) can make you seem uninterested in the conversation being held, whereas keeping good eye contact makes the conversation more personal and intense and helps for better verbal communication. If you happen to be interviewed via video chat, look directly into the camera as you speak to give your interviewer the idea that you are looking them in the eyes.
Don’t: Move Too Much or Too Little
When speaking, make sure to use your hands! Moving your hands as you talk to someone is a great way to put emphasis on key parts of your conversation. But keep in mind that too much hand movement can be distracting. Small movements are an excellent approach to emphasizing the subject matter, but sudden bursts of quick movement can be distracting and take attention away from an important part of the conversation.
Do: Be Aware of How You Come Off While Communicating
Make sure to keep your attitude in check throughout the entire process of interviewing for your potential job. This can be in the email you send discussing timeslots to schedule the interview, during the actual interview meeting, after the interview when you send your “thank you” email, and when you respond to their email that either offers you the position or lets you know that they went with a different candidate. You will need to keep a positive attitude and tone in your voice. Make it sound as though you are excited to just be sitting down, speaking to your interviewer. The attitude you have throughout the interview will affect the energy of the room as well as how strongly your interviewer may feel you fit the role.
Do: Your Research
Before you even apply for an open position, you should take the time to look up the hiring organization and gain a better understanding of what you could expect if you were to get the job. Showing up to the interview having researched the organization can give you the upper hand; especially when it comes time for you to answer questions like “Why do you want to work here?” and “What can you do for us that sets you apart from others applying for this same position?”
Don’t: Show up Without Having a Few Questions Ready
You can expect almost every interviewer to ask if YOU have any questions. But after researching the company, it should be easy for you to think of a few questions to ask that apply to you and the role you are applying for. Make sure that these are questions that you have legitimately thought about, not just something that you Google searched. Most employers will be able to tell which questions sound scripted or as if they came from a textbook.
These are all little things that you can work on prior to your next interview, but together, they make an enormous impact. If you choose to work on all of them, you will set a great first impression for yourself and generate a great interviewing experience for both parties; but ironically, if you do them all wrong, it can have the exact opposite effect. Following this advice and setting a fantastic first impression can lead you to create a tremendous advantage for yourself in the interviewing process compared to your competitors. It will have a snowball effect on everything else that your interviewer thinks about you; from your character, to how well you qualify for the position you applied for, to how well you will fit into the environment of the company!
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