Interview Tips  
3/8/2006 10:23:37 PM

By Cynthia M Piccolo

You've done it! You've landed an interview for that great job! Here are a few tips to help ensure it goes well:

  • Be Prepared! Do your research about the employer. Have a list of questions about the job and the employer, and another copy of your résumé (and any other documentation that may be useful, e.g. a copy of your license) to bring to the interview. Being prepared will show the interviewer how interested and enthusiastic you are.

  • Dress for success! If possible, wear a suit or, at least, a suit jacket. First impressions are lasting – Err on the side of overdressing.

  • Timing is everything! Don't show up late, and don't arrive too early. If you're more than 10 or 15 minutes early, stop somewhere for a coffee, or walk around the block a few times.

  • Be nice to the Gatekeeper! Believe it or not, many people are abrupt, or even rude to the receptionist. The people that you first encounter when entering the interview site deserve just as much respect as the interviewer. After all, you don't know who that person at the desk is – it could be the person who will be interviewing you, and who's helping out while the receptionist runs to the washroom. And you can bet that if you treat the gatekeeper poorly, the interviewer will hear about it, and take it as a sign of how you treat people.

  • Have a good handshake! It's hard to decide which is worse: the limp handshake that makes you feel as if you've just been handed a dead fish, or one that crushes your fingers and/or leaves your whole body shaking from the overly enthusiastic hand-pumping. Have a firm, but not crushing grip, and shake for maybe three seconds.

  • Eyes on the prize! Make eye contact – but don't look at the interviewer with a fixed stare.

  • Watch what you say and how you say it!
      1. Avoid talking too much. Let the interviewer lead the interview and don't speak above the interviewer, otherwise you'll give the impression of being nervous, arrogant, rude, and/or dishonest.

      2. Avoid talking too little. Don't make the interviewer feel like s/he is pulling teeth. It could make the interviewer question your level of interest or level of comprehension.

      3. Avoid talking too slowly. Most interviewers are on a tight time schedule, and you'll make the interviewer impatient.

      4. Avoid talking too quickly. You'll be difficult to follow, especially if you have an accent – or the interviewer does!

      5. Be careful of your grammar, avoid colloquialisms, avoid excessive use of interjections (e.g. "um," "uh," "er"), avoid swearing, and avoid jargon.

      6. Avoid badmouthing your current/former boss, coworkers, or workplace. Most people like to hear a scandalous or outrageous story – but not at a job interview. You'll be seen in a negative light, whether as someone who is "difficult," or as a gossip, victim, or complainer.

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