By John Focht
Interviewing for a new job is somewhat of an awkward and frightening experience. In many ways, it’s similar to our college dating days again. After all, first impressions count. Hygiene is vital. Being friendly, approachable, and likeable are critical. Before going back on that dating scene…er, uh, job interview, here are five tips to freshen up on in case it’s been awhile.
Deals are made or lost on first impressions. Be sure your personal appearance isn’t what costs you an opportunity at landing your dream job. In today’s culture, many offices and professional work environments are very relaxed. Professional casual, or even Friday casual is the office attire.
No matter what the professional setting is, you don’t have the job yet. You need to go the interview dressed to land a job, not dressed as though you are heading to happy hour.
For men, that means breaking out the button down shirt, tie, and suit. It also means shave that day. No matter what the facial hair style of the day is, you need to go into the interview looking your best, and that includes a smooth face.
For the woman, a professional business suit is required. It’s not Ladies Night at the club, it’s Interview Day at the office. Dress to impress the hiring manager.
For both men and women, if you have any visible tattoos on your arms, or on your legs for the women, cover them up for the interview. Show off the ink after you get the job. Remove facial jewelry while you’re at it. You don’t need to have the interviewer aimlessly wondering how you pierced yourself where; you need the interviewer paying attention to why you are the best candidate for the job.
Incredibly this even has to be discussed, but you would be surprised. Be sure to shower the day of your interview. Even if you don’t typically shower every day, make a point to shower on the day of your interview. Interviewers who are offended by your scent will be sure to end the interview early.
The other side of that is don’t put too much perfume or cologne on; in fact, error on the side on no perfume or cologne. Just as you don’t need the offending scent of not showering chase the interviewer out of the room, you don’t need the overbearing scent of too much perfume or cologne choking the life out of the interviewer.
If your interview is scheduled for right after breakfast or lunch, be sure to brush your teeth prior to the interview. It’s amazing how quickly your qualifications go out the window when you are simply remembered as the person with broccoli or sesame seeds stuck between your teeth.
One of the deadly sins of interviewing is not be prepared. Your interview is more than just an interview, it should be considered a test. Anything you are not prepared to answer, is like a failed answer on a test.
One of the worst offensive to preparation is not being aware what is on your own resume. Be sure you know everything on your resume. When an interviewer asks you a question about experiences that are listed on your resume and you are not prepared to speak to it, you might as well get up and leave the interview at that point because you are not getting the job.
Have at least five copies of your resume, on resume paper, to hand out during the interview process. Don’t make the assumption the person who is interviewing you has a copy of your resume, or even saw your resume before walking in the interview room. Be prepared to give anyone you meet a copy of your resume.
Ask Questions During the Interview:
The worst thing you can do for your chances at landing a job is to not have any questions for the interviewer at the end of the interview process.
You should have at least 3-5 questions written down before you even enter the interview. How long has this job been open? Why is it open; did someone leave the job or is it newly created? If someone left, why did they leave? Other questions could be about the company or the department you will be working for.
Question tie back into preparation, but it is extremely important to have questions prepared. Remember, this is your opportunity to interview the company too. You need to figure out if this is the right fit for you too.
Personable and Appreciative:
An interview can be a very taxing event, especially if it is multiple interviews in the same day. Be sure to be personable and appreciative of the interviewer’s time. If there were several people interviewing you, thank them all individually and shake their hands (at the start of the interview and the conclusion of the interview).
Prior to ending the interview, ask the interviewer for a business card or contact information. Ask them if it would be ok to send them an email afterwards with any follow-up questions you may have. Whether you have questions or not, follow-up immediately with a “thank you” email to anyone who interviewed you. Be appreciative of their time and the information they provided.
Interviewing is a tough enough process to go through as it is. For some, it can be a very exhausting experience. Putting you best foot
forward in the process may not necessarily land you the job, but it should definitely get you in the front door.