Have you interviewed for a job before but not been hired? Do you really, really know the keys to a fantastic interview? Your resume and follow-up phone call will get your foot in the door, but the interview is the key deciding factor on whether you will get hired or not. Here are 7 key do’s and don’ts of a job interview:
1. Research your company before the interview. If you are asked in the interview, “Why do you want to work for XYZ company” but you know nothing about what they do, you will not get the job. It is much more powerful to say, “I love their product ______. I use it myself, so I would love to work for a company whose products I believe in. I also saw on their website that they donate profits to charity. I would love to work for a company who gives to the needy.”
2. Give a firm hand shake – regardless if you are a man or woman – regardless if you are shaking the hand of a man or woman. Studies show that a person has 7 seconds to make a good first impression. That means your hand shake can be a deal-breaker. If you are interviewing for a job that involves decision-making abilities, management skills or outstanding customer service and you give the manager a “dead fish” hand shake, you simply will not get the job. I know this because I have interviewed hundreds of people, and the candidates who carry themselves confidently always have a good, strong hand shake. A fantastic hand shake not only is essential for a job interview, it is essential in life.
3. Dress like a million bucks without spending a million bucks. The way you dress for a job interview is not the same way you dress when going to happy hour with your friends. When I worked for Ashby Staffing, over half of the women who came into our office for an interview looked like they were going to an interview at Hooters. Ladies, if you have certain assets to show off, a job interview is not the place to do it. Under no circumstance should cleavage be shown in an interview – unless you are interviewing at a strip club. Wear pants or a long skirt, never a mini skirt. Cover your toes. No open-toed shoes. The women who interviewed with a professional suit, no cleavage and nice shoes always got a job. But I can’t afford to spend a lot of money on an interview outfit? You don’t have to. Target, TJ Max, Ross Dress for Less and many other stores now have a wonderful selection of business clothes at very affordable prices. Even if the job you are interviewing for does not require business attire, always wear business attire to an interview. Once you get the job, you can dress appropriately for the office.
4. Always answer questions positively. When asked “Why did you leave your last job”, you don’t want to say, “My boss was an idiot, my co-workers sucked, I didn’t get along with anyone in the office, etc…”. You will not get hired. When you are asked, “What are your weaknesses?” you don’t want to say “I have a hard time meeting deadlines and I don’t like authority.” Again, you will not get hired. Always turn negatives into positives. When asked, “What are your weaknesses” you might say,
“I am an overachiever. I expect a lot of myself.” Always keep the conversation positive.
5. Don’t ask about money or salary in the first interview. You don’t want to over-sell or under-sell yourself. Most jobs have a “range” they will pay people. For example, an accounting position might have a range of $50,000-65,000 starting salary. In the second interview when the pay range is discussed you can then plead your case why you should be paid at the higher end of the range. Companies want the best candidate for the least amount of money, so don’t sell yourself short by saying, “I am looking to earn at least $50,000” or else you will get the low end of the deal – because they may have paid you much more than that.
6. Always send a thank-you card to the people who interviewed you. You will stand out from the crowd and look like a true professional.
7. Follow up. Call 1-2 business days after your interview and say, “It was great meeting you the other day. I’m calling to see what you have decided about the ____ position. I feel I am a great candidate for this position and would love to discuss more details in a second interview.”
If you follow the 7 steps above, you should find yourself stressing over which job offer to accept – and not stressing over not having a job at all.