How to Nail the Interview

You never get a second chance at a first impression, so you really can’t afford to screw it up. That rule holds true for job interviews to interactions with colleagues to exploratory meetings with prospective customers or partners.

The basics of making a good first impression should be clear to all professionals – be on time, be up to speed on the material at hand, and look professional (also known as the 3 Ps: punctual, prepared, and presentable). But what else can you do to make sure to get off on the right foot in almost any business situation? Show confidence – Make constant eye contact and project energy and authority plus:

  • 5 minutes early is on time - The first impression si made by the curtesy that show the the interviewer. You want to be on time at the place the interview is going to happen. Leave early and be prepared for bad traffic.

  • Dress appropriately – If the company wears suits and ties wear them.  If they dress casually, then dress in business “casual”.  Focus on setting yourself up as part of the them but be memorable. Make sure you go into a job interview having showered and wearing clean clothes. If you like wearing cologne or perfume, don't wear any on the day of the interview. What's subtle smelling to you may be overwhelming to your interviewer.

  • Learn about the company and person you are interviewing – Research before you go to the interview – use Goggle and other search tools.

  • Listen more than you talk – Ask questions about the company and the position that you are interviewing for. When answering a question, answer the question. Don't start out answering a question and then veer off to talk about something else. Make sure your answer directly reflects the question being asked.

  • Have a copy of your resume you can leave - Your interviewer(s) will likely have a copy of your resume but bring spares. It shows you're prepared and serious about getting the job.

  • Have a pen and small note pad - In your pocket or purse have a small note pad and pen that you can reach quickly to jot down a name, address, phone number, or question that you need to follow-up on.

  • Be direct and positive with your answers – Be blunt and say only positive things – do not disparage your current or previous employers or individuals.  No politics or ”jokes”. Too many people think they are funny when in reality they're not. A job interview isn't the place to test your material. Be friendly and outgoing, save the jokes. Bad mouthing a previous boss in a job interview is a huge negative. They may have been the worst boss in the world but expressing that in a job interview is a huge mistake.

  • Focus on the interview during the interview – Turn off your cell phone and do not look at your watch
    Interviews can be a nervous experience but rubbing your chin, twirling your hair, or anything else along those lines makes you look like you're lying or lacking confidence, both not good.

  • Have passion - Be able to express why you want to work in that field/industry and what you do to further your knowledge (books, blogs you read). The more intelligent or informed you are the more impressive you'll look.

  • Send a note or an e-mail after the interview – Say thank you and summarize your positive thoughts about the interview.

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