Before you begin to think about how you will dress for the interview, or answer questions, you should gather as much information about the employer as you can. Not only will you appear informed and intelligent, it will also help you make a decision if a job offer is eventually made.
You might also want to prepare for answering questions by listing some of your attributes. Talk to former co-workers with whom you worked closely. Ask them to list some traits about you that they most admired – work related, of course.
You want to seem somewhat spontaneous, but you also want to appear self-confident. The way to do that is to rehearse, not exactly what you will say, but how you will say it. A great method is to rehearse in front of a video camera. Study your posture, the way you make eye contact, and your body language.
Dressing for the Interview
Appearance is very important and whether we like it or not, it is the first thing people notice about us. You should match your dress to employees in the workplace in which you are interviewing and probably take it up a notch. If dress is very casual, those being interviewed should wear dress pants and dress shirts or skirts and blouses. Don’t choose a Friday, since many offices have “casual Fridays.”
Your hair should be neat and stylish. Your nails should be well manicured and clean. Men’s nails should be short. Women’s nails should be of a reasonable length and polished in a neutral color. Also for women, makeup shouldn’t be heavy. Perfume or cologne should be avoided as some people find certain scents offensive.
Since the interviewer’s job is to make sure that not only your skill, but your personality as well, is a good match, you must establish rapport with the person or persons interviewing you. That begins the instant you walk in the door. Let the interviewer set the tone.
Nothing is as awkward as offering your hand and having the gesture not returned by the other person. Therefore you should wait for the interviewer to offer his or her hand first, but be ready to offer your hand immediately.
They say that body language gives more away about us than speech. Eye contact is very important but make sure it looks natural. A smiling, relaxed face is very inviting. Hands resting casually in your lap rather than arms folded across your chest also is more inviting.
When it comes down to it, isn’t this the main point of the interview? Speak slowly and clearly. Pause before you answer a question. Your answers will seem less rehearsed and it will give you a chance to collect your thoughts.
Usually toward the end of the interview, the person conducting it will ask you if you have any questions. You should have some. You should ask about what a typical day would entail. You could also ask what special projects you would be working on. As in every other aspect of the job search, you are trying to show the employer how you can fill their needs.
We have all heard horror stories of interviewers asking job candidates inappropriate questions, such as those about marital status, age, and family status. These questions should not be asked, but it is up to you whether to answer them.
Money is a very sensitive topic. The candidate shouldn’t bring it up. However, the interviewer may bring it up first. He or she may ask what salary you hope to earn. You must prepare for this question before the interview. Find out what others in the same position are earning. Always give a range, not an exact number.
This will help keep you from pricing yourself out of a job. You don’t want the employer to think they can’t afford you, but you also don’t want them to think you are a cheap commodity.
After the Interview
This is something that is too often neglected. It’s the thank you note or follow-up letter. It is your chance to reiterate something you mentioned on the interview or bring up something you forgot to mention. It is also a nice gesture and a simple matter of politeness.