Ingredients of a Successful Interview
By Mark McCurdy
If you’re late, you’ve decided your fate!
In my workshops, I always make it a point to say, “The biggest favor you can give yourself in the interview is to be on time.” If you are late, you have already decided your fate, and it will not be a positive outcome for you at the company. It is often said that the best reference for future employee outlook is past experience. If you are showing up late, it tells the hiring manager you will probably be late to work and to meetings in the future.
At a job interview your goal is to make a great first impression, not only because of your skills, but also because of your overall presentation and attitude. Here are five ingredients that will improve your chances.
Be early. Arrive 10-15 minutes early and make light conversation with the receptionist or front desk attendant, if they don’t seem too busy.
Have a purpose and prepare. Practice produces positive energy and confidence. After studying the organization’s website, come up with a minimum of three questions about the organization. Do a practice interview with a friend, family member or career coach, to help you minimize interview questions that might catch you off guard.
Beam with positive self-esteem. Smile often during your interview. It is common to be nervous during a job interview, and we tend not to smile as much when we are anxious. If you don’t smile, the interviewer may wonder if you really want the job or not. Make good eye contact, and do what you can to be sure the interviewer sees you in a positive light.
Dress to impress. My father always told me it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. A favorite suit, or a not-too-short dress, will help you feel self-confident. Keep in mind that those making the hiring decision may be of a more conservative generation or mindset than those in your group of friends. Be sure you are neatly groomed, and avoid a new growth of beard, untidy hair, etc. And long artificial fingernails may make the interviewer wonder if you can type on a keyboard!
Be generous with your thanks. Thank your prospective employers three times if you hope to be called back for a second interview or a job offer. First, thank each interviewer for his or her time at the beginning of the interview. Second, before you leave, thank each person for the information and thoughtful feedback that was given to you.. Third, send or bring a “thank you letter” afterward. It is ideal to drop it off in person. The second choice would be snail mail; the third option is email.