At this juncture in our lives, most of us have suffered through several dozen interviews by now. Some of the interviews have been met with success - some of them not - and no matter the result, the interviews themselves are inevitably nerve racking. Here are some useful tips to make it through your next interview, because no matter how seasoned one feels about discussing future goals and work history, there are many elements that are easily overlooked. No one will ever know how perfect your qualifications are for the job if you make some of these common blunders:
1) Don't smoke before your interview.
O.K. We all know you have heard this one before, but it has to be included. When you are working in an air-controlled environment like an office, smoke odors are incredibly strong. If you smoke outside or in your car before your interview, the smoke will cling to your clothes, hair, hands and breath. If you absolutely must smoke, do not smoke in an enclosed space, and wash your hands thoroughly before the interview. I assure you, your interviewing team WILL smell it, and WILL note it as less than professional.
2) Don't disclose too much personal information.
When someone is conducting an interview, they are not only looking at your job qualifications, but also your "soft skills". Do you recognize appropriate boundaries? The interviewing team will want to see someone that can professionally represent their company, even if the interfacing requirements are only with the UPS guy. Be warm and personable, but do not go into detail about your personal life. If the interviewer asks you personal questions, they are, more than likely, attempting to be personable and make you comfortable. They are not inviting you to delve into relationship, family or financial issues. Bear in mind that questions of this nature during an interview are illegal and should never be asked.
3) Be honest
If you were fired from a position, and they ask you why, don't criticize the company that released you. Recognize what you could have done to resolve the situation. If the interviewer asks you what areas you can use improvements, don't conjure up a "fault" that translates into an office plus. These people have interviewed many people, and have undoubtedly heard "I'm a perfectionist" many times. What the interviewer is attempting to do is evaluate your self- improvement and critical thinking. If you are not capable of recognizing any weakness, how can you ever improve?
4) Present yourself well
Don't slouch in your chair, stare into space when talking, fidget, chew gum, tap your fingers, etc… Always assume that you should dress up unless you have been told otherwise.
5) Be candid about what you are seeking
Not only is the interviewer trying to establish if you are right for their company; they are also trying to establish if it is right for you. Listen to the job description, and consider how well that suits you. Chances are, the interviewer is aware of both strong and weak points of the job description- listen to them! Ask intelligent questions that demonstrate your consideration of the position in question. Never ask questions regarding salary or perks on the first interview.
6) Be Confident
This is the most common advice, and the most difficult to achieve. However, it is also the most crucial. When you are confident, you are also more personable and charismatic, and can demonstrate problem resolution and leadership abilities. This is the type of person anyone finds employable. The relative experience and the hard skills are about 1/3 of the consideration. The interviewer is seeking many difficult to discern qualities, such as integrity, compatibility, and enthusiasm. These coupled with your long-term goals and your skill set will help the interviewer determine if you are the person they are looking for. Do what it takes to get you there!
7) Be yourself
Every company has a "culture". Many companies feel that their culture and employees are their greatest asset while others place greater weight on other factors. Regardless, it is important for the employer and for you to fit. Neither side will know if this is the case unless you just be yourself. Hopefully, the employer will do the same.