Tried and true pointers to promote your best self when meeting an employer.
- Always research the company so that you can ask questions and make comments about their firm. Google is your friend as is the employer’s website. Glass Door can give you an idea of employee experience, but don’t rely too heavily upon it.
- Map your route and always allow for more time than the route suggests – it’s better to be early and wait a few minutes in your car or at a coffee shop than to be late.
- Large office buildings often have security check-in. Allow for that extra time.
- Obtain the full name and proper spelling of your contact person for when you check in with reception upon arrival.
- Do not chew gum, candy, etc. (but some gum or mouthwash a few minutes beforehand never hurts)
- Always dress professionally for an interview (unless specifically instructed otherwise).
- Handshakes are customary at introduction to any personnel and also upon departure.
- Bring an extra copy of your resume as well as professional references.
- Never speak negatively about a former employer or organization. You can truthfully relay reasons for your job search without trashing a former/current job. While it is important to be as honest as possible, remember that there are always two sides to every story. Speaking negatively will send up a red flag to the interviewer.
- Answer the interviewer’s questions as clearly and concisely as possible. Keep from using words like ‘um,’ ‘you know,’ etc. Answer fully, and be as comprehensive as possible, but don’t ramble or monopolize the conversation.
- Keep normal eye contact as much as possible. Certainly don't stare, but also don’t ‘search’ for answers by looking up at the ceiling / down at the floor repeatedly. Do not ‘fidget.’ If you don’t look comfortable, it shows.
- Have answers for what you can bring to the organization (quantitatively and qualitatively).
- Have questions ready to ask about their organization and the position (see tip #1).
- Topics such as salary, benefits, holidays and PTO are best left to secondary interviews unless brought up by the employer.
- Be prepared for the possibility of taking pre-employment tests (industry skills, personality profile, drug tests, etc.).
- As the interview winds down, find out what the next step and timetable is in the interview process.
- Thank them for their time, and be sure to get a business card from the interviewer so that you have proper contact information. If no card is available, get a general company card on your way out (normally available at reception).
- The evening after the interview, compose and send a brief email to the interviewer thanking them for their time and letting them know how to get a hold of you if they have any further questions.