How to put your best foot forward!
Be on time! 10 minutes before the appointment is perfect timing, especially if you need to fill out paperwork before your interview begins. If you get there before 10 minutes prior, hang out in the lobby of the building or relax/practice if you came in your personal vehicle. If that’s not an option, ask to use the rest room and do one last mirror check before you start. Those 10 minutes are ample time for your interview to prep if unable to do beforehand.
Know your work history: You are the expert on your work history so make sure you do a quick mental review of all the jobs you have listed on your resume and any jobs you had which have pertinent experience that may not appear on your resume because it was several years ago. Ensure dates of experience match as well, i.e., you have ten years of MS Office experience the resume should reflect this.
Be confident! Everyone is nervous. This is a natural reaction. You are about to persuade a stranger(s) you are the best candidate for the position and that is a challenge. But you can work the odds in your favor by giving a nice firm handshake, making eye contact and smiling. Be nice to everyone you encounter while you are on site from the receptionist, the mail room guy, the suits and the uniforms. You would be surprised how far this will take you. Your cell phone should remain on silent. Even on vibrating mode this can be a distraction. Shortly before your interview, use a quick dissolving mint (such as an Altoid or Tic Tac). Gum is discouraged.
Prepare for success: Research the company before the interview. A good rule of thumb is to read the About Us’ section. Become familiar with the route to the interview before as to account for any traffic delays or additional issues. Practice pronouncing the name of the person you are meeting with in the mirror. Your interview attire should be clean and prepared to wear days before the interview. Have prepared questions, two copies of your updated resume, and a portfolio with a note pad and pen to take notes.
Be ready to answer: You will distinguish yourself from other candidates if you have great (true) stories. There are standard questions that come with most interviews such as: how you improved in your previous/current position, how well you collaborate with your co-workers, how you resolve conflict, and your ability to deliver results. Engage them in your storytelling and this will give the listener a lasting positive experience. Refrain from listing your job duties and responsibilities. Instead, showcase your individual talents and contributions as it relates to your duties. Remain silent instead of saying ‘um’. Silence is okay; it allows you to think the questions through. Lastly, focus on the question and answer specifically what is asked of you.
Send a thank you email: Within 24 hours of your interview send an email thanking them for their time and recapping why you are the perfect candidate for the job.