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Interview Tips: Back to the Basics

It’s essential to take a step back and go back to the basics of interviewing. Why? Because these six simple things can make or break a candidate’s success during the hiring process. And they are super easy.

Be on time.

Show up early. Just do not be late. This is super important because it is the first impression you will give the employer. This small gesture of showing up on time demonstrates your personality and work ethic. It shows that you are responsible and organized. If you show up late, the employer will automatically assume you will be late to work and have attendance issues. It is also disrespectful. Human Resource professionals and Recruiters have busy schedules. If you are late, it can hinder the start time for the rest of their meetings for the day.

So, what if you are late? What if your dog ate your resume and needed extra time to print it? Then what? Well, to start, do not wing it. Do not arrive two minutes late to the interview, and apologize when you arrive. Call or email ahead of time and apologize for the inconvenience. It is also essential to ask the Human Resource professional or Recruiter if it is OK to continue with the interview or if the interview needs to be rescheduled? Below is an example of a possible response.

“Hi (name of HR/Recruiter), I am running a few minutes behind schedule. I apologize for this. It is entirely my fault; I did not anticipate the traffic to be as bad as it is. I know your time is precious. I was wondering if it is still OK for me to come in for the interview or if you need to reschedule it?’

Arriving 5-10 minutes before the interview will give you a few minutes to review your thoughts and prepare your interview answers. Or maybe you need to use this time to calm your nerves. In that case, drink some water, breath, take a quick walk, listen to some pump-up gangster rap, meditate, etc. If you arrive late, it can create unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Dress to impress.

Aka, dress professionally. It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many candidates show up in jeans. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. In a way, it’s disrespectful to the person conducting the interview when a candidate is not dressed professionally. Think of it like the first time you meet your girlfriend or boyfriend’s parents; you don’t want to show up looking like a bum. Get up and get dressed up. It doesn’t matter the position or company you are applying for, always play it safe and put on your fancy pants. Plus, it will give you the confidence to feel and do your best if you look your best.

Ladies, unfortunately, we live in a judgmental world. What does that mean to you? It means you should not dress up like you are going to the club. You are probably lovely with a killer bod, but I keep it classy San Diego (in my Anchorman voice) for an interview.

Bring a copy of your resume.

Or two. Or three. Or four. It’s an old interviewing rule that many candidates don’t do anymore. Granted, we live in a time where technology has made it easy for recruiters and HR professionals to pull up resumes with a simple name search, and most will have a copy of your resume ready when you get to the interview. But if they don’t, it will show that you are prepared and organized for the interview.

Be excited!!!

I cannot stress this enough. Show interest in the company and interest in the person interviewing you. Or fake it 😉 Interviews can be tedious and repetitive for Recruiters and HR professionals, so when a candidate shows excitement and interest, it’s a huge plus. Again, think of it like dating; you wouldn’t want to be on a date where the person was not interested in anything you had to say or seemed unexcited to be on the date. In reality, recruiters, HR, and hiring managers want to hire people they want to work with. So, please get to know them.

Ask questions

Lots of them! It goes back to being interested and excited about the position and company.

Tip: Look at the company’s website and ask a question or two specifics to the product/service.

The saying, “there is no such thing as a stupid question,” is true. However, there is a time and place for certain questions. Questions about insurance and vacation benefits should be at the end, not at the end of the interview, but at the end of the interview process. From the employer’s perspective, it isn’t charming when candidates ask these questions at the beginning stages of the hiring process. And even more annoying when these are the only questions asked. Again, it’s kind of like dating. You wouldn’t ask your date their credit score or yearly salary on a first date; you’d wait till you’re further along in the relationship to ask those kinds of questions—same concept.

Not to mention, from a candidate’s perspective, if you leave these questions till the end it will give you salary negotiating advantages.

Follow up

If you haven’t heard back from the company- follow up. Send an email that says something like, “I’m just sending a quick follow-up email. I’m very interested in the company. I’d love to hear back from you. Please let me know if you need anything else from me”. Companies conduct TONS of interviews, so reminding them of who you are, what you will do for the organization, and that you are still interested is essential.

Tip: Send a follow-up email about a week after the interview.

Send a thank-you note

Always. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be personalized. Thank the person you interviewed for their time. Every person wants to feel valued and appreciated, and interviewing is no different.

Tip: If you want a position, you can always go the extra mile and send a thank you card in the mail. This might seem old school, and you probably haven’t bought a stamp in years, but this little gesture will set you apart.

Tip: Right after the interview, write down a couple of things that stood out, whether it be something you remember from the person interviewing you, something significant about the company, or maybe a question you had. If you write it down right after the interview, the information will be fresh in your mind, making it easier to write a personalized thank you note.

And that’s a wrap folks.

Interviewing can be annoying and awkward. Job hunting can be long and frustrating. Keep up the excellent work. You can do it!!

For more information on how to prepare for an interview, contact NimoHR.

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