(courtesy of Mrs. Row)
1. Dress your best. This means suit and tie for the gentlemen and dress or blouse and dress pants with closed toe shoes for the ladies. No jeans, t-shirts, cut-offs, see-through or off-the-shoulder clothing, sneakers, sandals or open toe shoes. Polish your shoes. Tight, provocative clothing is a bad idea. Your hair is washed and your clothes are clean. You are wearing deodorant and smell good. Except for earrings, take any visible piercings out. Visible tattoos will not help you either. Do not have gum or candy in your mouth. Make sure your cell phone is turned OFF completely and is out of sight. Your cell phone has no place or purpose at this time. This first impression can make or break your interview.
2. Come prepared. Bring with you a resume or other appropriate documents. Bring also a notebook and pencil so you can take notes on your interview. You'll learn a lot in this interview conversation and writing notes will prepare you for the job and give you insight for research or additional follow-up. Be prepared to talk about everything on your resume.
3. Be on time. It's always a good thing to be little early for an interview. If you are late because of traffic or another bona fide reason, apologize first thing to the interviewer. Employers gauge your future performance on this initial appearance. If you are early, it shows you are conscientious and it demonstrates that you can be trusted to be to work on time. If you are late, you won't be trusted to be to work on time so why would they hire you?
4. Stature and demeanor. You will make an impression with your interviewer within 7 seconds. Walking straight and tall projects confidence and is definitely noticed by the interviewer. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, eye contact and a smile. It's okay to be nervous. Don't sit down until you are invited to do so. Sitting upright and/or on the edge of the chair also denotes confidence and shows the interviewer you are paying attention and are genuinely interested in the position.
5. Behavior. Do not chew gum or eat candy. People asking you important questions about your knowledge, skills and competencies do not like "cud-chewing", salivating or strange noises coming out of your mouth. Answer the questions "yes, sir" or "no, ma'am". Remember how they introduced themselves to you. You will address them (Mr., Mrs. or Ms.) that same way. Show utmost respect for that person who is taking time out of their busy day to talk with you. Listen to what they say and do not interrupt them. Answer their questions honestly. Keep your hands in your lap when you are not taking notes. Biting your nails, yawning or playing with your hair shows that you really don't care about this job or the person who is asking you questions.
5. Inappropriate questions/comments. Never ask how much a position pays during the first interview. Don't tell the interviewer your personal requirements (such as 'I have to have the day off on the 13th for the Homecoming Dance"). Employers are not going to work around your schedule. If you are asked an inappropriate question, you may very humbly reply that you are not comfortable answering that question.
There are a lot of psychological factors in play during an interview. How you act, how they act, long pauses, rapid fire questions, theoretical questions, et al. Think about your answer before you speak and don't "shoot from the hip". Stuttering, coughing, sniffing, "umm", "like", "cool", "yeah" and other slang or distracting words/syllables/sounds may not be noticeable to you (because you're used to them) but it will be noticeable to your interviewer. To practice your delivery, practice in front of a mirror or with family/friends. Speaking clearly and listening are two of the most important communication skills in our world today.
6. Ending the interview. When the interview is over, allow the interviewer to rise from his/her chair first. Then offer your hand again in a handshake, smile and thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Ask them if there is anything else they would like to have to help them make their decision about the job. Wish them a nice day or good luck in filling the position as you leave. Send a thank-you note immediately afterwards to remind them of your interest.
7. Important! The best things you can offer are: Show up on time, dress and speak appropriately and pass a drug test!
Remember, you're in competition for this position.
If you don't shine during the interview, someone else will!!!