1) Be on time – neither late nor early. On time!
I’ve reached a position in life where I am in the hire seat instead of being the one who’s interviewed. The one thing I’ve come to view as an almost absolute truth is that those who are tardy to the interview, or too much of an eager beaver, makes for less than good employees.
Being on time shows you are capable of adhering to the most basic rules. Don’t was your or your employers time. Being early is of course better than being late but it is not what you have agreed upon for your meeting, is it? Take a stroll around the building instead and show up exactly on time!
2) Stick to a cordial and correct tone – no matter how friendly tone your future boss keeps
This is more common than one might think. You show up for the interview and the person interviewing you (or persons if there’s more than one) starts by shaking your hand, showing off a big smile and starts telling you about an anecdote from his personal life. Never ever take the same tone back. Avoid it all costs. In today’s world with tech startups and more traditional companies fight over who’s the most hip employer it is still not at all certain they will appreciate you calling them by first name or start letting on how you like to sleep until 10 on Mondays. Avoid this pitfall by sticking to a somber tone without being boring. You’re there for a job. Show off your talent instead of trying to become “one in the gang”.
3) Dress and compose yourself as a regular work day – don’t dress up!
In contrast with popular belief it’s not necessary to dress up for an interview. You should of course be neat and tidy and stand up straight etc, but if you dress up you’ll probably feel a bit akward and it will inevitably affect your interview performance. Also, you don’t want to portray a lie. Show up as you are and if they still like you, you’re off to a very good start! If they don’t like you just because you didn’t wear a jacket and a tie, do you really want to be coveted by them? Didn’t think so.
4) Take your time when answering and dare to say “I don’t know”
It’s a fine line between ignorant and having integrity. The ignorant person answers “I don’t know” to quite many questions and often strays from the question into answering something he wished was asked. Don’t do this. A good interviewer will know what you’re up to and you end up in the “unlucky pile”. Also, don’t confuse this advice as to mean that you should start asking your interviewer questions. Don’t do that. You’re there to answer their questions. If they invite you to ask questions about the company, then by all means partake in that by asking a couple of benign questions but let’s face it, you SHOULD already know everything about that company if you are sitting there at an interview. So, in conclusion, you should stand your ground, you shall say “I don’t know” if you are asked an impossible question but stick to what’s asked, don’t over extended the “I don’t know” to becoming your most used phrase during the interview.
5) Study the company, study the interviewer and don’t use the information
This is perhaps the most difficult advice to handle. If you are a laisses faire person who is too lazy to do ample grunt work before going to an interview you can stop reading here. You will not be able to handle this important advice anyways. For the rest of you, know this: be a stalker before the interview! Learn everything you can about your future employer and the representative you’re about to meet. If you are meeting with a recruiting firm, include knowing the skinny of that recruiting firm as well. Go through Facebook, LinkedIn (beware of LinkedIn since they track who’s been viewing someone’s profile; as does Facebook but they will not show it to the person in question so that’s easier). When you know all you can find about the company and the person(s) you are meeting, just keep it in mind when talking to them. Don’t use it. Do absolutely avoid saying things like “I’m really interested in equestrian breeding” if you found out the person you’re meeting has a thing for horses. Just know who you are dealing with and you’ll feel more secure.
Some of these tips you will probably not find anywhere else. It’s not the standard suggestions but if you found your way here, you are probably not the standard candidate either. Dare to stand out. Dare to be yourself but know what boundaries you should keep.
So, now that you’re ready. Go get that job!