For most job seekers, the interview with the HR Manager is one of the most nerve wracking experiences they’re ever going to feel during the course of the hiring process. A lot always seems to be working against the job seeker on interview day – traffic, bad weather, an upset stomach and an endless list of “this can’t be happening to me!” moments that only seem to happen on one of the most important days, ever.
The interview can either make or break your chances at getting the job, because as the saying goes “first impressions last” and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a bad impression. Here are a few tips on how to leave a good impression on your future employer during the interview.
The Early Bird Special
You should be sitting outside the interview room at least 20 minutes before your interview. Plan what to wear the night before, wake up early and plan your route ahead of time. Being early will let you do a little recon and see who you’re up against if you’re not the only one scheduled for that day. You’ll also enter the interview room more relaxed and composed because you weren’t rushing to be on time. Job seekers who rush because they’re late look harassed, are sweating and often nervous. Not a good way to start the festivities.
Do your research about the company a day before the interview. Go to their website and their Facebook page to check out the company’s culture, values and mission to give you an idea of what they’re all about. If there’s info available, learn a little something about the person who might interview you. LinkedIn is a good resource for this, so come interview day, you’ll be armed with info about your interviewer that you can use to make a connection.
Look your Best
The interview is not all talk. Your interviewer will be judging the way you dress and look, so make sure you dress appropriately for it by wearing your best business suit. Visit the salon or barber for a trim and fix your hair before the interview. Keep your fingernails clean and short. Go to the restroom five minutes before the interview so you can fix yourself up. Your breath must be fresh at all times so carry some mints (no gum).
Confidence is everything. If you know how to carry yourself and hold your own during the interview, your chances are bigger than the other applicant who wasn’t sure of himself. Avoid jerky and nervous movements. Don’t fidget, twirl your hair, bite your nails or do any other nervous tick. Try to suck it up until after the interview.
Smile, make Eye Contact and be Honest
Always flash your best smile, but choose when to do it or you’ll give the interviewer signals that you’re not serious about the job. Excessive smiling is creepy. Also make eye contact when appropriate. Don’t just stare down your employer like you’re a crazy person. Your eyes tell the most about you, and a trained HR manager can tell if you’re all talk and no substance.
Think before you Respond
Once you get the words out, there’s no getting them back, so think before you answer technical questions about your past work experience or the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying as a software developer for example, you have to know how to respond to questions such as “what is test automation” or “ what do you feel when you’re reviewing someone else’s code?” Always give clear and concise answers and ask the interviewer if you didn’t understand the question. Also, never badmouth your old employer, no matter how much they deserve your spite. You’ll look petty and unprofessional.
Avoid Money Talk
Don’t ask about the salary or benefits because you’ll look over eager and only there for the money. Details regarding salaries/benefits will be revealed to you when the time is right, usually when the company is ready to give you a job offer. Tell the interviewer what you previously made when asked about it so they can make the necessary adjustments.
Thats it! By being honest about your abilities and achievements, you’re letting your employer know that you can be a trustworthy member of the company. By asking questions and being sincerely interested in the company and how they do business, you’re showing them curiosity, a forward thinking attitude and that you’ll be fully invested in the company when they hire you. Arm yourself with these tips, and good luck with the interview!