There are endless articles and books about how to act and what to say during a job interview. But when it comes down to it, if you follow these twelve tips, you will be on your way to your first paycheck from your new employer:
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1. Research the companyMake certain that you are familiar with its website, learn what it does, where it stands within its industry, and its current challenges. Then, you will be able to ask intelligent questions and speak about ways you can contribute to its success.
2. Learn about the people who will interview youWhen you are invited to interview, don’t be shy about asking with whom you will be speaking and what his/her/their roles are within the company. Then, check them out on LinkedIn and Google to learn all you can about them. During your interview you can work in a subtle reference that highlights a commonality you share, without hitting them over the head with it.
3. Pay attention to your grooming and attire
I can’t come up with an example of someone ever NOT getting a job because they were well groomed, showed up in a suit, covered all their tattoos, and were generally “well put together." However, examples abound of people not getting a job because they were inappropriately attired or poorly groomed. Always present yourself as a professional.
4. Bring your business card to every interview
If you aren’t working, then at least make up a card with your name and contact information. The time to exchange cards is at the beginning of your meeting, enabling you to follow up with a prompt “Thank You” note to each person with whom you met.
5. Arrange cards in front of you
If there are multiple people at the table, arrange their cards in front of you in the order in which they are seated, and glance down briefly during your discussion if you forget someone’s name.
6. Give a firm handshake
It may seem cliché, but people do read a lot about you into the way you first present yourself, and a firm handshake is key in projecting a strong personality. That said, don’t go overboard and crush bones to show power for its own sake.
7. Always maintain eye contact
When you look down or away from a person with whom you are conversing, it appears that you are disinterested, bored, or even projecting a sense of inadequacy. Show your engagement by looking at the person across the table.
8. Answer what is asked
Before you begin to answer any question, think for a moment to make sure you are addressing the question that the interviewer posed, rather than trying to fit your own talking points into the conversation.
9. Be concise
Have short, succinct answers ready for the most typical questions like, “Tell me about yourself.” An interview is a conversation, not a time for you to drone on and on. Move on by asking, “Is this the kind of information you were after?” and be prepared to make a mid-course correction if the interviewer wants you to focus on something else.
10. Never bad mouth
Never say anything at all negative about any person or employer, no matter how bad, evil, mean, or nasty you believe them to be. When you are disparaging, you put the interviewer in a role of judging between you and that other person. It also leaves the interviewer wondering what you will say about him or her if your relationship sours in the future.
11. Don’t ask about things you should already know
It is up to you to do your research about the company ahead of the interview. You show that you are unprepared if you ask something you could have easily found out by yourself (i.e. anything that can be found on the employer’s website).
12. Don’t waste time with questions that don’t matter – yet!
Of course, you want to know about when they will decide to hire, how far they are in their process, salary, benefits, vacation, and things of this sort. But when you are given a chance to ask a question, remember that NONE of this matters until they have figured out you are their top choice among all your competition.
Keep your questions focused on the role to be filled and ways you can be a standout employee. Then, you are most likely to proceed to the next round of discussions.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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