You’ve made it through the door with a great application and the next step is the interview. No matter if you’re being for your first job or have been through the interview process ten times or more, here are some important pointers to keep in mind.
Dress Like You Mean Business
There’s no need for most jobs to show up in suit but you do need to dress more like you’re ready to go to work than to go to a concert. No jeans, no bare midriffs, no ripped shirts or wild hair. This is the time to “blend in”. Guys can generally succeed with a good pair of khakis and a dress shirt. Girls should avoid anything that suggests layers or “extreme”. Skip the multiple layers of bracelets, go easy on makeup and scents, and keep the outfit simple.
If potential employers have a pet peeve, it’s the applicant who arrives late for the job interview. Allow an extra fifteen to twenty minutes to get to any interview especially if your interview is in a location with heavy traffic or in an area you don’t know well. If you’re relying on public transportation, know the routes and schedules and expect delays. Arriving about 10 minutes prior to the interview lets the employer know you want the job!
Come Ready to Ask Questions
It’s not only the employer who gets to ask questions during the interview, you can also be ready with four or five questions of your own. Why is this a good idea? It shows the potential employer that you really want this job and have been giving thought to your decision to work there.
What kinds of questions might be appropriate? Here are some suggestions:
- What do you think is the most important thing I need to know about this job?
- What kinds of opportunities might there be for me to learn new skills here?
- Is there anything else you need to know about me?
- Will I be trained on the job by you or someone else?
Say Thank-You Twice at the Interview
Even though you might be solving an employer’s problems by bringing your skills to the workplace, the employer is giving you a chance to earn a paycheck so be sure to let the employer know you appreciate his or her time. When you first step in the door, you can say, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I’m very interested in learning about this job.” When you leave, you can add another bit of thanks by saying something such as: “Thank you for the chance to learn more about the job. I hope to hear from you soon.”
Write a Thank You Note After the Interview
Believe it or not, a thank you letter might get you the job. There are lots of applicants who have the same or better skills than you and probably several other applicants who gave a dazzling smile and great answers during the interview. But how many of those applicants will sit down and send a thank you note? Probably very few. Most likely only one or two.
What do you say in a post-interview thank you note? You only need express three main ideas:
- Thank you for meeting with me.
- I am interested in working with your company.
- I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank note notes are best if handwritten but even an email note will help you keep your name in front of an employer.
In closing, your application might have opened a door or two but it’s the interview which is going to get you through the door and into the job.