You applied. You sent your resume and cover letter. And perhaps you’ve already had a phone interview. Now you’ve been invited to interview in person. This is your chance to really hook the employer and prove to them that you are the best candidate for their job.
For the employer, the interview is their chance to get to know you and evaluate your ability to fill the need that they have. Most importantly, the employer is searching to see if you will represent their company with excellence, fit into their culture, and be a valuable asset once hired. It is crucial for any candidate to remember is that the interview doesn’t start when you walk into the interview room, but rather, the moment you apply to the job.
After you’ve applied, there will be some communication back and forth with the employer on when your interview will be. During these initial emails and phone calls, strive to be very professional and friendly. Make sure you’re easy to work with and do your best to work around their schedule.
Be early, but not too early. Somewhere between 10-15 minutes early is acceptable. Showing up too early or too late will give them the impression that you are unprofessional.
Be sure to bring an extra copy of your resume as well as a note pad and paper with you so you can take notes if you need to. If you’re applying for a position that has a lot of visual elements, you may also bring examples of your work or a small portfolio to leave behind.
Key Tip – Before entering the office for the interview, sit in your car and take a few deep breathes. This will slow your heart rate, relax your body, and give you a sense of calmness.
Put simply, if you want the job, you need to dress the part. Professional interviewers should be in formal business attire unless stated otherwise.
For men, a suit and tie with nice dress shoes is important. A simple hair cut is best and avoid any kind of extreme hair styles if possible.
For women, a suit or a nice blouse and skirt with high-heels is acceptable. Also, keep your hair in a simple manner if possible. Avoid bright colors and do your best to dress in a manner that draws attention for the right reasons.
Key Tip – Don’t wear heavy cologne or perfume. It’s important to smell nice, just not TOO nice.
The first initial greeting is very important to setting up the rest of the interview. By showing kindness, smiling, and appearing to be professional, you will get a head start on winning them over.
When you first get to the office, you will probably be asked to fill out information or just wait patiently in the lobby. Use this time wisely to prepare mentally. Avoid using your phone and do your best to appear ready until you are greeted and invited into the interview room.
When you are greeted, if you are sitting, be sure to stand up and then shake their hand firmly.
Nobody likes a sloppy handshake. When shaking hands, smile, make eye contact, grip their hand firmly for one second, and try to briefly say their name in a short greeting: “Nice to meet you Mr. or Mrs. ____.”
Key Tip – Do NOT chew gum during the interview. Brush your teeth or have a breath mint before the interview.
Now that you’ve entered the interview room, your goal is to do two things: tell the honest truth and be authentic.
Without a doubt, the employer is going to put some level of pressure on you during the interview to see what you’re made of. They will be watching and listening to everything you say and do to evaluate your character. It is key that you do not squash under the pressure and that you remain the same no matter what. A confident, optimistic, and professional attitude is essential. Remember that you’re not selling information, your’re selling yourself.
If you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer or how to respond, it’s best to pause for a few seconds to think or just simply say that you don’t know. Lying will get you in trouble. Employers will be analyzing your IQ, your personality, your skill set, and your experience, but most importantly, your integrity.
There are many staple interview questions out there. However, we selected some of the most popular to give you a few examples.
After they have quizzed you, there is a good chance they will ask you if you have anything you would like to ask them. Always say yes! This can be a crucial part of the interview and it gives you the opportunity to control where the interview goes next. Asking them a question can also help them to get to know you better. Here is a list of suggested questions to ask the interviewer:
Key Tip – Don’t ask about something too personal, but it’s OK to ask a more casual question in the interview to make a good personal connection. Look for similar interests and any clues in the office such as sports memorabilia, a family picture, or a hobby. Sometimes this can help to create a personal bond with the interviewer.
Now that the interview is through, before you walk out, be sure to thank the interviewer(s) with a smile and give them a good handshake.
You also need to remember to follow-up the following day. Be sure to send a “Thank You email” that lets them know you enjoyed the conversation and that you appreciated their time. This will go a long way with most employers and show initiative on your part. Also, if you don’t hear anything back, it’s always a good practice to call after a few days to follow up.
If you’re applying for a job and you want to increase your chances, partnering with a recruiter can give you an added advantage. The Rowland Group specializes in Engineering, Accounting & Finance, and Information Technology. Give us a call and we would love to serve you!
Contact us by calling our Tulsa office at 918-836-1900 or our Houston office at 713-715-5900.