Interview Do's and Don'ts!

Before, During, and After...

Need to brush up on your interviewing skills?

Here is a list of some Do's and Don'ts for before, during, and after the interview. Just apply these simple suggestions and your chances for success will increase.

Before The Interview

* Do Research The Company And The Interviewer.

Use valuable resources such as the Internet, company brochures, annual reports or other financial statements, newspaper and magazine articles. If you can, find a current or former employee and set up a time to talk. Although you might think it will be impossible to find information on the interviewer, it's not. Quiz the interviewer's subordinates or colleagues. Question them about the interviewing style, and what qualities or skills he or she is looking for.

* Do Compare And Match Your Skills To The Position You Are Seeking.

This is a very important step to do before mailing, faxing, or emailing your resume. Companies list specific qualifications in their advertisements, so that the potential candidate can gage if they are a fit. Don't waste the companies', or your valuable time if your skills are not close to the ad specifications.

* Do Prepare By Having A Friend Or Family Member Conduct a Mock Interview.

Based on the information you gathered about the company and the interviewer; make a list of possible questions they may ask you. Also, think of questions that you may want to ask about the company. If you cannot think of any questions, ask a friend or family member to brainstorm with you.

Then have your friend or family member act as the interviewer by asking you the questions you have listed.

By practicing your answers aloud, you will become self-confident, comfortable, and be ready for the interviewer's questions. PREPARATION is the key! Having questions prepared to ask about the company shows your interest and iniative in wanting to know

* Do Dress For Success.

Did you know that you make an impression within the first ten seconds of meeting someone? A person makes evaluations based on your "appearance". They decide if you are well groomed, intelligent, detailed, flexible/inflexible, sincere, honest, even-tempered, creative, friendly, easy or difficult to communicate with, and so forth. They decide if you are someone that they want to have as a potential employee. It is only during the interview that he or she may change their initial evaluations of you.

Ladies: Have appropriate, in-style, professional attire (business suit or dress), trimmed and styled hair, and manicured nails. Also, we recommend wearing make-up to bring together those final touches to your look. Minimal jewelry is also best. Help the interviewer focus on your skills and qualifications, not your appearance.

Men: It is also important for men to have appropriate in-style, professional attire (business suit), trimmed and styled hair, manicured nails, and clean-shaven faces. Again, minimal jewelry is also best. Only if the position requires a "style" other than traditional should you deviate from tried and true.

* Do Prepare a Professional Resume.

If you have not prepared a resume recently, go to the library or online to see the latest formats. You may also contact a professional resume writer if you feel you are unable to put your best skills and qualifications on paper. Do not forget to have a copy on disk, as you will be emailing the resume as well mailing it.

* Do Arrive Early.

Part of making a good impression is arriving early. This is not only applicable for interviews but for everything you do in life. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. This allows you adequate time to find where you are going, to relax a bit, focus, and possibly pick up cues about the company style from the surroundings. If posted, read the company mission and vision statements. Notice what impression the company makes.

During The Interview

* Do Shake Hands and Maintain Good Eye Contact.

Maintaining good eye contact throughout the entire conversation and having a firm hand shake, before and after, projects confidence and self-assurance. Leave the impression that you are confident and a good communicator.

* Do Have Good Poise and Posture.

Let your presence be known when you enter a room. Stand erect with shoulders back but not stiff. It is always best when you look and feel relaxed. Remain standing until they ask you to sit.

* Do Pay Attention.

Make sure you are always listening and answering questions honestly, but briefly. There is a limited amount of time for your interview so let the interviewer lead the conversation.

* Do Show How Your Ability and Skills Will Make this Job A Fit Without Sounding Boastful Or Unwilling to Learn And Grow.

Interviewers will select you based on the perception that you meet most of the expectations required of the position, that you are someone pleasant to work with, and that you will do a good job. They will not select you if they sense you think you are superior to the position, unwilling to learn, genuinely interested, or are inflexible. No matter how knowledgeable you are or how much experience you have, there will always be a certain amount of learning that must take place. You can express to the interviewer that you have the skills, ability and willingness to take on challenges and to learn quickly.

* Do Show Your Interest In The Job.

Eagerness to do a job always leaves a good impression. One way to show your interest is to ask when you can expect them to contact you about their hiring decision. Ask if there is additional information (references, transcripts, work samples) which they may need to make a decision.

* Don't Smoke, Chew Gum, wear strong cologne/perfume, or anything that could be controversial or distractive.

* Don't Give A "Sob Story" About Your Personal Problems.

No one wants to hear someone pour out all of their personal problems, especially upon meeting for the first time. People are hired based on ability, not because someone feels sorry for them. Even if you really need the position remain professional at all times.

* Don't Speak Critically Of Past Employers or Co-Workers.

This is unprofessional and may cause them to wonder what you will say about them if they selected you for the position and then left the company.

* Don't Take Anyone With You To The Interview.

You want to always show that you are capable of handling stressful situations. You do not want the interviewer to think you need someone to "hold your hand". Never take children on an interview. Be prepared to start working by having a reliable childcare provider available.

* Don't Ask About Salary Or Benefits Until They Have Offered You The Position.

An interviewer may get the impression that you are more concerned about what you will receive than what you will bring to the company. The interviewer wants to make sure you are a definite fit for the job before giving out this kind of information.

After the Interview

* Do Thank The Interviewer And Shake Hands.

The interviewer's time is very valuable and thanking him or her shows your realization and appreciation of this.

* Do Mail A "Thank You" Note.

One final touch to the interview is sending a "thank you" note (preferably not email). There is a two-fold purpose in doing this. One, it is the proper way of thanking someone for their time in giving you the opportunity to share with them why they should hire you. Two, it serves as a reminder about you and the key points discussed during the interview. This will definitely make a good impression.




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McNamara Search Associates, Inc. is a BBB Accredited Executive Search Consultant in Lexington, KY

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