The semester is almost over. I’m done interviewing people and I’m done being interviewed; I survived! But not, of course, without some tidbits to share! Now I don’t’ like to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty darn good with interviews, plus I’ve conducted enough myself to know a thing or two about making them a success. So, if you have an interview coming up or are just curious about some do’s and don’ts, read below:
- Wear shoes. Let me explain: because we put on shoes to get moving or get things done, it’ll trick your mind into thinking that you’re about to handle some serious business (which you are) and you’ll perform better.
- Don’t read from that silly script you have created for yourself. Just…don’t.
- Be concise with your answers. They can’t see you so they’ll have to hear in your voice whether or not you’re done talking. That means no “uptalk”, or ending sentences in a high pitch that makes your statement sound more like a question.
- Shut up. If you feel like you’ve fully answered the question, stop talking. Don’t feel like you have to fill up dead air because then you’ll just start rambling.
- Dress the same way you would for a face-to-face interview. Even if they’ll only see the top-half of you, you’re still trying to make a good impression.
- Make sure that there’s a blank wall behind you. No one wants to see your DVD collection, crooked lampshade, or family photos.
- Log-on early to check your internet connection and to make sure that your video is working. Also use this time to adjust your lighting.
- Sit your laptop on a flat surface, not to far below your chest. If it’s too low, the interviewer will be looking up your nose. That’s disgusting and awkward.
- See a career coach or career counselor for a mock interview. Heck, hand your mom some practice questions and have her do it. Just don’t go into an interview without having had some sort of serious practice.
- Ladies, you don’t have to wear heels. Especially if you’re going to clunk around like a clown on stilts. Modest height or flats. Period.
- And if you feel too cute, your outfit is probably distracting. Unless you’re going into a “fun”, casual, or creative field, stick to solids and neutrals that mimic plain Jane.
- Arrive about 10 minutes early. Too early could inconvenience them and right on time or late is…never mind, I won’t even insult your intelligence.
- Leave your “stuff” in the car. Unless you plan on texting someone, writing a check, or showing your potential boss how to draw a mean eyebrow, you do not need to bring that bag with you. Carry a nice padfolio and call it a day.
- Inside your padfolio, you should have copies of your resume (on resume paper), your list of references (that you have spoken to and briefed about your upcoming interview), a copy of the job description, and simple notes or bullet points that will help jog your memory in case you get stumped on a question.
- Be polite to the person working the front desk, they usually have some serious pull around the office.
- Shake your interviewers hand like a human; not “like a woman,” and not “like a man”. Too dainty makes them feel like they’re courting you, too forceful makes it seem like you’re trying to prove something. Connect the web between your thumb and index finger with theirs and just be normal.
- You can make, break, or shatter your chances in a matter of seconds. First impressions happen almost immediately and it’s hard to redeem yourself if you’ve come off as boring, uneducated, or uninterested and your interviewer gets rubbed the wrong way. Smile and show them a good energy level.
- Take whatever restroom or water breaks that they offer. This will give you a chance to relax, regroup, or review your notes.
- Tell stories. Everyone says they’re hardworking, passionate, and dependable. The only thing that makes you stand out is the personal stories you use to prove your point.
- Ask them questions at the end. “I think we’ve covered everything,” is unacceptable.
- Be yourself. If you get the job, they’ll expect you to show up everyday as the same person you were during the interview. Of course you want to be your best self, but that shouldn’t feel like you’re being fake or putting on a performance.
- Realize that this might be your only shot. Dress to the nines (take your suit to the cleaners, polish your shoes, etc.), do your research on the company and position, and have any documentation that you might need to back up what you’re saying. You should be able to walk out of the interview and know that you just gave them the best interview of THEIR lives.
I could go on forever, but I’ll stop here. Follow this link if you’d like to ask me any specific questions about interviewing!