No one ever landed a good job based on a good resume alone. Remember that a resume’s job is to win you the interview, not the job!
So what does it take to ace the interview?
1) Be Punctual — Good luck digging out of the hole when you show up late. In most cases, you’re probably just as likely to get the job by skipping the interview completely. At the same time, you don’t want to show up too early. Don’t mess up the interviewer’s schedule. Make sure you know how to get there, and if you show up too early, circle the block a few times. Walk in about 5-10 minutes before the scheduled start and you’re good to go.
2) First Impressions Matter — Dress appropriate to the workplace, perhaps one notch above the workplace. Sure, they say it’s a business casual office, but don’t go in wearing jeans. Overdress a little (but save the tux for your college roommate’s wedding or an interview with MI6). Be clean and smell neutral (body odor or strong cologne/perfume will be a turnoff). Smile, know how to give a good handshake and make proper eye contact (staring is bad…even when it’s at the carpet).
3) Don’t Minimize the Gatekeeper — Many an interview has gone wonderfully well until the boss asks the secretary or assistant their opinion. If you are rude or unpleasant to the employer’s staff, you won’t be getting the job.
4) Do Your Research — Get to know the company and the industry before the interview. One word: Google! Having knowledge about your potential future employer and their business can only help you during the interview.
5) Leave Your Nerves At Home — Being a little nervous is normal, especially if you’re desperate for the job. One, don’t be desperate…there are lots of jobs and companies hiring good people if you can prove you can help their business. Two, calm your nerves by remembering that you are interviewing them as well. Do you really want to work there if they are jerks or don’t come across as ethical? This worked wonders for me when I separated from the Air Force and had 11 interviews in two days. Three, continues on that comment…practice helps. Go on lots of interviews, even for the jobs you might not want. You may be surprised, and it’ll get your ready for the big ones without appearing nervous or desperate.
6) Preparation — If you think about it, you can probably guess at least three to five questions they are likely to ask in every interview (Tell me about yourself…What is your experience in our industry…etc.). You better have practiced and have good answers. One of my favorites when I was interviewing was to first ask someone about their strengths (should be easy), then I’d ask about their weaknesses (saying you don’t have any is the wrong answer, but so is going into major social flaws in your character). Be ready for the questions.
7) Ask Good Questions — You already knew they were going to ask you lots of questions. But if you can’t ask them relevant questions about their business, you will not appear as interested or as intelligent.
I cannot stress enough that for the interview to go well and for a job to be offered and accepted, a Win-Win scenario is needed. If they don’t like you, no offer…no job. If they like you but you don’t like them, it’s not the right job (or you won’t be there long). Always look for the Win-Win.
SECRET WEAPON — Realize that the interviewer is probably talking to a lot of people, especially when unemployment is at around 10% (though that varies a lot by region and industry). You need to be remarkable and memorable. One sure way to do that: offer them a 30, 60, 90 day schedule of what you plan to accomplish after you start working there. Almost no one will do that and they will remember you!
I hope these tips help the next time you face an interview…I wrote this in just a few minutes off the top of my head. Feel free to add additional tips in the comments.
There is much more to the interview process that we discuss in the
48 Days to the Work You Love Workshops.
Contact me if you’re interested in learning more about this amazing seminar!