By Jeff Altman
Like preparing a great meal, interviewing requires preparation. Get good ingredients and give yourself time. Prepare the food on the plate to make the meal attractive. All of these go into a great meal. Taking the time to prepare for an interview will give you a huge leg up on your completion.
1. Schedule interviews at times that work for your metabolism. Are you a morning person? Why would you accept a 6 PM interview? If you are a person who functions best in the afternoon, try not to accept early morning appointments. If you are a person who needs to be conscious of their blood sugar, try to schedule your appointments at times when you are at your peak. If forced to accept one of your less ideal times, have a quick bite prior to the interview to avoid “fading.” Avoid overeating.
2. Give yourself extra time to get to their offices. There are few things worse than getting to an interview late.
3. Arrive at the office building 7-10 minutes early. If it is summer, you want to wait in the lobby to cool off; no one likes shaking sweaty hands. If its winter, warm up; you don’t want someone’s early impressions of you formed by shaking a cold hand. Take a few minutes in the lobby to get focused on what you will say. Allow a few minutes to get through building security so that you actually arrive at your interview on time and ready to go.
4. Properly introduce yourself to everyone you meet by saying. “My name is __________ and I have a [1:30] interview with ________________.”
5. If you are asked if they can hang your coat, accept the offer; if offered a beverage, accept a beverage. You don’t have to drink coffee or tea. Soda, bottled water or water is fine. Thank whoever helps you. Declining the offer may be rude in some cultures.
6. Take your seat in order to face the greatest number of entry points into the room so that you can see someone approaching you. Being startled is not a good way to start a meeting.
7. If you are given an application, complete it and complete it accurately and neatly. Do not attach your resume and write, “See attached resume.” An application is a legal document and failure to complete it accurately can be grounds for termination.
8. If you are not sure about the month you started a job or your exact salary, write “approx” (for the word approximately) next to the item. If asked, indicate you are not absolutely certain of the exact month and don’t wish to deceive anyone. Obviously, if you can ascertain your salary or starting date prior to interviewing, do so; for some people, the date or salary may be so far in the past to make it impossible to determine.
9. Write legibly (or as legibly as you can). This may be the twelfth application you’ve completed, but it is the first of yours that they’ve seen. In many professions, sloppiness is seen as a flaw.
10. When you hear your name announced, stand, and smile, shake the hand of your interviewer, and immediately size them up as a person. Are they smart (or not). Aggressive (or not). If you were meeting this person socially, I’m sure your instincts would be right. Unfortunately, because people think interviews are important, they think they have to feel the interviewer out. Doing that is a mistake. Hard and fast impressions of you will be formed during the next ten minutes that will be difficult to change. If you tend to be right in social situations about the people you meet, trust your instincts in professional ones, too.
Using these ten steps as a checklist will get you started better than your competition. What you do after that is up to you.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2005, 2011, 2016, 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes.
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