Interviews are about 3 things: (1) Do you have the skills and experience necessary to do the job? and (2) Are you a good person to work with? No one wants to work with a jerk; and most importantly (3) PROMOTE YOURSELF. Focus on what you can do for the company, not just what you did in the past.
Punctuality matters – DO NOT BE LATE. This is a serious and usually unrecoverable mistake. First impressions matter and showing up late to an interview shows that you’re irresponsible, you don’t value time and you’re disorganized. No one cares about the traffic, construction, road closures or GPS malfunctions. All that matters is that you showed up late.
Be friendly and polite with everyone. Making a good first impression starts from the moment you walk into the building. Be polite with everyone, because it’s the right thing to do, but also because employers hire people they like. They hire people they genuinely want to work with.
Dress for Success. Always dress professionally for an interview, unless you’re being interviewed at Hooters. (And if you’re interviewing at Hooters, you’re probably not reading this blog!).—I would err on the more conservative side, but still show case your personality. When in doubt, always dress up, not down. It’s always better to be over dressed than to look like a schlep.
Avoid fragrance: Now that more office buildings and businesses have a fragrance-free policy, you should steer clear of any offending scents. Avoid overwhelming your potential employer with your “ocean-spray” deodorant, your “summer breeze” hairspray, your perfume, your coco butter hand cream, etc. People are sensitive to fragrance these days, so choose a scent-free option for all your toiletries.
For smokers: Do not show up to the interview reeking of smoke. It’s gross. Enough said. If you have to smoke beforehand, make sure you’ve brushed your teeth, used mouthwash, washed your hands and sprayed an air-freshener on your clothes. For non-smokers, we can smell the scent of smoke a mile away. So, don’t offend your employer before you’ve even answered one question by reeking of smoke.
Have a strong handshake. Make sure your hands are dry, offer your hand out, shake hands with a firm grip smile and maintain eye contact. Never, ever offer one of those limp handshakes. Nothing says you lack complete confidence than a weak handshake.
Check your body language. Make eye contact! This is so important and speaks to your confidence level. How do you sit in a chair? Leaning backwards (showcases boredom); arms crossed? (you’re angry and resentful); leaning forward? (YES! Projects confidence). Be aware of what your body language message is saying to others.
Promote yourself. This is not the place to be humble or shy. Don’t talk about what a team player you are. You need to sell yourself and your skills. Make it memorable. Have a prepared “elevator pitch” and discuss what you can do for the company. Don’t just list all your past attributes. I know how uncomfortable this makes most women, but you must practice promoting yourself, because if you don’t sing your own praises, you can absolutely, without a doubt, bet that no one else will.
Ask for the sale – finish strong. Ask for the job, why else are you there?! Exude confidence by asking for the job. There should be no doubt as to why you’re there. You’re there to get a job. You’re there to fill a void with your particular and unique skills and experiences. Have a strong closing by asking for the sale.