Interviews are typically the most stressful time of the job search process, but with a little practice and a few tips, you'll do just fine. This is potentially the first time that the recruiter has met you and you are setting the stage for the interviewer to form his or her opinion of you. To make the best first impression and have a better shot at landing the position, steer clear from these behaviors:
- Forgetting to research the company. A Google search can tell you most of what you need to know about the company. Find out their culture and their mission. Does it fit in with yours? It's okay if you don't completely understand their mission or have other questions about the company. Bring those up during the interview! If the company doesn't have much of an internet presence, ask current employees.
- Not following business etiquette. This is your time to show how professional and polished you are. Shake the interviewers' hand firmly, look them in the eye when you speak, and wait to be invited to have a seat.
- Dressing inappropriately. Even if your friends that work at the company wear t-shirts and jeans to work, you should never show up to an interview in that attire. Business casual will always be your best bet, but when in doubt, always overdress. Having good personal hygiene and clean, unwrinkled clothing is also necessary.
- Arriving late. Time is valuable to everyone, your interviewers included. Plan out your route a few days in advance and allot extra time for parking, missed turns, or traffic, with at least ten minutes left to walk in early. You should always do everything in your power to stick to the agreed-upon time, but in the event that an emergency occurs, always call your recruiter and apologize for the inconvenience. Emails are not appropriate in this situation. Never, ever think it is appropriate to not show up to an interview. If you are no longer interested in the position, a simple call to the recruiter is polite.
- Answering a text or call during the interview. The best place for your cell phone is in your car, but if you must bring it in with you, make sure it is completely silenced or turned off. Put in your pocket or purse; don't set it on the table.
- Talking negatively about current or previous employers. Most everyone has had bosses or coworkers that they haven't liked, but recruiters want to see that you have the ability to deal with difficult people and can make the best of it. You don't want the recruiter to think that you're a complainer or worse, will badmouth their company if given the chance.
- Oversharing personal information. Don't get too comfortable in an interview that you divulge too many personal details. The recruiter doesn't need to know about your family problems or gossip about your past coworkers. Doing so could lead the recruiter to think you'll bring drama to the workplace.
- Cursing or using swear words. This should go without saying, but cursing generally isn't appropriate in the workplace and most definitely isn't appropriate in an interview.
- Failing to ask questions. You want to show that you're interested in the position, have taken the time to do your research, and are vested in finding a career that is the right fit. Avoid asking about vacation time right away. An interview is also a time for you to evaluate and get to know the company better.
- Not bringing extra copies of your resume, a notepad, and pen. Interviewers will most likely have copies of your resumes, but it shows you went the extra step and is helpful in the event that copies are needed. You'll also need a notepad and pen to write down any notes, as well as the answers to your questions.
Keep in mind that following these tips is not a sure-fire way to land a position, but they will most definitely help you in getting closer to your goal. Doing your best to be prepared will not only help you to make a great first impression, but it will help to alleviate some of the stress involved with interviewing.