Your heart is racing. You’ve been searching for months. You want this job so badly – you can taste it. Your hands are sweating. You have the skills, but you struggle in sealing the deal at the interview.
A story we have heard literally hundreds of times in our line of work… and with good reason. Interviews are stressful. They challenge comfort levels, open up vulnerabilities, and carry enormous pressure to produce a positive outcome… GETTING THE JOB!
As HR professionals, we believe in preparedness – in fact, we preach it. So, we decided to assemble the suggestions we most often give to our candidates, to guide those of you outside of our agency walls. Here are six rules to getting the job you want, as well as the important details that support them. Follow these, and you are on the right track to landing that job!
Dress for the job you want.
1. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
This is your first impression… don’t blow it. Keep these details in mind when planning how you walk into your interview.
- Dress for the position for which you are applying; i.e. if you are interviewing for an executive role, dress the part. There is no need to overdress either. Wear what suits your role and the industry you serve. Looking out of place is not an impression to make. And of course, clean, pressed and tidy.
- Personal hygiene matters: clean shaven, teeth brushed, a fresh smell and groomed.
- Beware of strong odors: do not smoke before entering an interview, mints are good allies against coffee and bad breath, and a subtle amount of perfume or cologne.
10 minutes early is the golden rule.
2. BE ON TIME
Hiring professionals place a significant amount of hiring weight on when a candidate arrives at their interview. Because of this, be sure to follow this advice…
- 10 minutes early is the rule of thumb – not just on-time
- No more than 15 minutes early… arriving too early and expecting they will see you is an inconvenience to an HR professional
- Allowing for time prior to your set interview appointment will give you time to gather your thoughts, use the restroom and do a quick appearance check.
Have all your paper work in order.
3. COME PREPARED
Before you leave your home, be sure to double check you have all of the possible items an HR professional will need or could ask to see, as well as the items that allow you to properly function at the interview.
- Research the company you are interviewing with to gain a solid understanding of who they are, their business and what they may be looking for in a candidate
- A pen and/or pencil are an absolute MUST!
- Ample copies of your resume
- Paperwork the employer has asked for you to complete
- Documentation, certifications, licenses, driver’s license and social security card
- 3 GOOD questions to ask the interviewer that are not about wage, benefits or hours
Leaving is just as important as arriving with a good impression.
4. LEAVE AN IMPRESSION
When the questions stop – and the room quiets – your departure is the last chance to make your mark.
- Shake the hands of those that participated in your interview and THANK them for the opportunity
- Ask for business cards – don’t leave not knowing the names of the people you met
- Send a thank you CARD or email following your interview; this gesture is just as important today as it has ever been! This has become a task that differentiates candidates. DO IT!
Five days after, let them know you still care.
5. FOLLOW UP
The days following an interview are hardest – you think about all that went right, what may have gone better… and you dream about your future as a new employee. Do not get caught living in the clouds and miss the chance to re-connect.
- If after five business days you have not heard from the employer, reach out to remind them of your interest
- A phone call or email work best; simply state the interest you still have in the position with their company and ask if there are questions you can answer or additional information you can provide
- Part with an eager closing.
DO NOT do this at your interview!
6. ABSOLUTELY, DO NOT DO THIS!
From the moment you enter the building, until the moment you leave – your only interest should be in the company and the interview.
- CELL PHONES: don’t look at it, use it, answer it or check it. Turn it off – switch it to vibrate or airplane mode
- No personal grooming while you wait; check your hair, make-up and file your nails before entering the building
- Leave your water, coffee, breakfast or snack in the car; if they offer you a drink, feel free to accept
- Time Stops: meaning, as long as you are on time – there is NO need to look at your watch or a clock at any point throughout the interview
As professionals in the human resources and staffing industry, we often say it takes a village to employ a candidate. Consider these six rules the law of the land when it comes to turning yourself from a candidate into a hired employee.
HR Professionals, do you agree with these interview tips? Let us know your golden rules for prospective employees in the comments!