If you carefully followed my initial advice, you have distinguished yourself from the faceless others who shared the same dream of employment and now comes the interview. If you play poker, you have made the final table.
First _ and this will really help you _ become conversant about the company to which you are applying. Google is a great tool and there is no excuse not to use it. Know what the company does, who its customers are, how many people work there, what the product is and its uses, the company’s history and management, etc. If it is in another city, research that too. Walking in the door prepared is 90 percent of the interview.Okay, the day of the interview has arrived. You’ve shaved, showered, got a haircut. Dress like a professional. You want to be taken seriously so look like someone who should be, like someone who seriously wants to work.
Show up on time. On time means not late and not too early. It is just as aggravating to have a candidate show up 45 minutes early, as it is 45 minutes late.Be polite to people while waiting but sit quietly, like you belong there. Rise, make eye contact and offer your hand when approached for the interview. Eye contact is very important with a new employer. I once interviewed someone who spent the entire interview staring at the ground. If you’re that self-conscious, I can’t use you.
Be relaxed but not casual, meaning don’t look so tight that the interviewer thinks you are out of your element. But don’t act like your dad owns the company either.
And _ this is really important _ pause before you answer a question. Quick answers lead me to believe you are saying what you think I want to hear. Speak in complete sentences, don’t start one sentence, stop and start another. That shows a lack of cohesion of thought and means you will not ever finish anything you start. Listen to the question and answer it directly. For example, I interviewed a candidate from the east coast and asked him why he wanted to move to the Midwest. He spent 10 minutes telling me how awful it was to live out East but never told me why he wanted to move here, which means he didn’t. He just wanted out.
An interview is a little like a legal deposition. Answer the question succinctly and don’t ramble. You reveal more than you intend when you prattle on and on. One candidate talked for 13 straight minutes without stop in answer to a simple question I asked. Watching the seconds crawl by was more interesting than listening to him.Don’t try to endear yourself to your prospective boss with uncomfortable intimacies or attempts at humor. One candidate told me that there were “really good drugs” at his college. Another confided when asked what kind of manager he was that people under him would say he was an “asshole.” Hard to shake that image.
Smile, nod occasionally and act like a real person. Let him see who he would be hiring, not the empty façade behind which most candidates hide.
When it is your turn to ask questions, ask pertinent ones, like what would my duties be and what are the hours, who do I report to, what are the expectations, is there a performance review, a chance for advancement, etc. that have not been answered already. Ask about the company if you are curious and ask the interviewer how long he has been there and what he likes about the company. You don’t want to be hired by someone who is desperate to leave himself. Bosses tend to protect those they brought to the company. If he’s gone, you may be too.
One good question to ascertain expectations is asking what a successful candidate would achieve in the first year. If it’s something you feel you can’t hope to achieve, don’t assume you’ll change the expectations to suit your skills. You won’t and both you and your employer will be unhappy.Some employers list so many duties and expectations that the only person who could fulfill them died on the cross 2000 years ago. Be sure you know what you are getting into.
Keep the number of questions to a handful. One candidate brought out a sheath of 4x6 note cards on which were written literally dozens of questions. I finally stopped her after more than an hour of interrogation and told her the interview was over. She looked up stunned and said, “But I have more questions.”
Make sure you look at the work area, office, shop or whatever. Observe the people there. Do they look happy, are they engaged, do they seem at ease with each other? If they are miserable, gloomy, slouched and appear to be praying for an early death, you will too. The only thing worse than being unemployed is being employed in a job you hate.I would make pay and benefits the last thing I ask, as though it is important but not the determining factor in your interest. If the first question is “How much will I get paid?” the rest of the interview for me is pointless. Most jobs worth having require a passion for the work and a genuine enjoyment whose absence can’t be overcome by the golden handcuffs of a decent wage.
Last bit of advice; if after all that you still want the job, tell him or her that. Say it. Look right at him or her and say, “I want this job.” It matters and they will remember you.
Let me know if any of this helps and follow me on Twitter @MikeBailey4