Nowadays getting an interview is like finding one of Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets –it’s a great opportunity but you don’t want to walk out of it looking like Veruca after she falls down the egg chute. Knowing how to follow the unspoken rules of an interview can save you from making a mistake that could cost you the job or blowing up like a giant blueberry (maybe).
1. Interviewers Judge Books by Their Covers
What you’re wearing, your grooming, and even how you smell are first impressions that interviewers will judge. Even if you’re interviewing for a causal environment, you should look professional instead of dressing like an extra from 8 Mile. Body language also matters. Sit up straight, don’t fidget, and make eye contact with your interviewer.
2. Timing Matters
As anyone who has ever played Frogger knows, timing is everything. Everything, from the amount of time it takes for you to respond to contact from the company to when you decide to ask probing questions about the company’s vacation policy, will be taken into consideration by the hiring manager. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions and you launch into an interrogation like you’re the bad cop of the good cop/bad cop duo, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. First round interviews are not the time or place to discuss topics that are only tangentially related to the job. These kinds of questions include whether you can flex your time, vacation policies, and healthcare co-pays.
3. Do You Know Anything (About This Job)?
Prepare for every job interview to show the interviewer that you take this position (and this company) seriously. While it may seem obvious, not being clued into the details of the job description make it look like you don’t care and will put you on the interviewers “no” list faster than you can imagine. Not only are interviewers interested in knowing that you understand the job, but they also want you to show that you can do it. They are going to be paying someone from Day One so it’s good to be able to show that you can provide instant value.
4. Positivity Is Persuasive
Don’t dump on an old company or former manager – even if that manager was a literal incarnation of Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada. Employers are looking at potential hires to see if they’re agreeable, easy to work with, and upbeat. Interviewers are smart enough to know that “interview you” is the best version of you. If you are negative in the interview, they’ll worry what you’ll be like in a day-to-day situation when the reality of how terrible all office coffee is has sunk in.
5. Make Them Feel Special
Interviewing is like dating – you need to show them you’re interested. Don’t forget to follow up and remind the company of how much they like you. After interviewing 10 or 15 people, everyone starts to blur together. While every interviewer appreciates a polite follow-up note, sending the interviewer something tailored to the conversation you had is the best way to show you’re still engaged and interested in the company. The closer you paid attention in the interview, the easier it will to be find a natural way to follow up.
Most important advice of all is to remember to be yourself. Unless you’re terrible. Then be somebody else.
Tell us what you think in the comments below!