You did it! You got an interview for the best job ever! Woo hoo!
You’ve got the skills, the education and you even volunteer in that field. You are the best person for the job.
You are right to celebrate, but hold on for the toast. You still have to show your likability. These days we talk about B2B (Business to Business), B2C (Business to Consumer), but in the end it is all about H2H (Human to Human).
According to a 2010 joint study conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and the Stanford Research Institute, 85 per cent of the reason people are able to get a job, keep that job and move ahead, is based on their interpersonal skills.
Employers want you to match the position, be professional, demonstrate confidence and credibility. People want to hire people that will easily fit in the team.
Read on for the 20 contemporary dos and don’ts that will let your personality shine to get you the position that you dream of.
Before the interview
1. Research the company’s history, culture, mission and vision on their website and social media interactions. It’s not just about you. It’s about them too. When answering or asking questions, include company information to demonstrate how you are a fit.
2. Prepare and practice, with a friend or mentor, concise answers to the basic questions. Based on your research and the job posting, include specific examples with results. Always keep your answers positive. Remember that your tone of voice and the speed at which you talk count to.
• Why are you a match for this position?
• What is your best asset?
• What is your greatest weakness?
3. Get directions before the day of the interview. If possible, practice the route. If you are driving make sure to have a full tank of gas. Don’t rely on your GPS — print your map. Plan on getting there early. Find a coffee shop to review your answers, questions, Power Pose in the washroom, or call your mother to tell her that you love her.
4. Decide on what you will wear and make sure that you are comfortable in it. This is not the time to experiment. Choose your “power outfit.” No matter how casual their workplace, it is always best to dress more conservatively. It shows respect. If people that work in that industry traditionally wear pants or skirt and a shirt, add a blazer. Avoid the four Bs; bar, boudoir, beach and barbell (gym) wear. Iron your clothes. Polish your shoes. Avoid strong scents. Ladies, do wear makeup. Not fair? I agree and here are six other looks that affect your pay. It shows attention to detail. Not sure what to wear? Ask the recruiter.
5. Keep your papers in a leather portfolio. Print and bring a copy of the job posting and three copies of your resumé; one for you and the others for the interviewers. Have a note pad to take notes. Write the interview details: name of the recruiter, phone number, address. This will prompt you to use their name and may come in handy if you are late or lost. Carry a quality pen.
6. Practice your goodnight sleep routine; sound meal, early bedtime, reviewing notes, a cup of chamomile tea, or whatever you need to do, or avoid doing, to be at your best the morning after.
On the day of the interview
7. Practice your great day routine; early morning meditation, a run around the block, your breakfast of champion, a cup of coffee, or whatever you need to do, or avoid doing, to be at your best for the rest of the day.
8. Be on time. There are no exceptions to this. If you are late; call ASAP, don’t text. Don’t show up earlier than expected. The recruiter may not be ready for you.
9. Turn off your phone or leave it in the car. Your phone should not be visible or heard.
10. Introduce yourself with your full name — first and last name. “Hi, my name is Mary Smith, I have a 9:30 interview with John Jacobs.”
11. Stand up for introductions, always. Smile. Make eye contact and shake hands at the beginning and at the end of the interview. Not sure if your grip is firm enough or too strong? Ask for feedback from your mentor and friends.
12. Use the recruiter’s name. “Thank you for seeing me Mr. Jacobs.” All women in business should be addressed as Ms.
13. Wait until the interviewer shows you where to sit. Keep good posture throughout. Don’t slouch and fidget or lean on the recruiter’s desk.
14. Don’t chew gum.
15. The ideal interview dynamic is a conversation. Its not just about you, it’s about them too. You confidently answer questions to promote yourself. You ask questions to demonstrate your research plus interest in the position and company.
• What is the expected career path for this position?
• What is a typical day in this position?
• What is the most important quality for a person in this position?
16. Never talk negatively about a past employer or colleagues.
17. If the recruiter did not provide next step information, it is appropriate for you to ask what to expect as part of their selection process.
After the interview
18. Don’t linger.
19. Send a thank-you note to each person that you interviewed with. By email may be good enough, but a handwritten note by mail will set you apart from the other candidates. Reiterate your enthusiasm and proof it before sending it, twice.
20. Reflect on the interview and do a personal evaluation. Write notes to improve for future interviews.
Think all of these guidelines are pretty basic? You are right, but don’t take them for granted. Your livelihood depends on them.
Good luck and may your career vision come true