Note: This post was originally published on February 5, 2012, shortly after taking a director position with Five Star Development, Inc.

In one of my previous posts, Choose Your Employer Carefully, I focused on items to look for when interviewing with a potential employer. Now that I’m all settled into my new position, and having spent weeks speaking with candidates to possibly join our team, I feel compelled to take a step back and restate some of the more obvious things that any job candidate should do during an interview. It seems as though these items are just lost on most people. So here we go:

  • Be Prompt, But Not Über-Early – Having an office in an off the beaten path part of town means that a lot of our interviewees will arrive early because they’re unsure of our exact location. However, there’s a fine line between early and being too early. Showing up 15 minutes before an interview is completely appropriate. Showing up an hour early is not. That means that you’re left sitting in the lobby or a meeting room with too much time on your hands in an environment that you’re unfamiliar with. Go for a drive around the area – find the nearest eateries, or sit in your car and listen to your favorite songs, but don’t go into the office space until 15 minutes before the interview.
  • Shake Hands Like You Mean It – A lot of business deals have been created over a simple handshake. It’s a powerful thing, and says a lot about your character. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you need to shake your interviewer’s hand in a way that says that you are powerful, confident, and purposeful. So on your next interview, grab your interviewer’s hand firmly, look them in the eyes, smile, and shake their hand.
  • Dress for Success – We’re a small company with a great culture. The dresscode is very relaxed. That doesn’t mean that you should show up to an interview dressed as if you already work here. Employers are looking for commitment. That means getting your best threads out of the closet, giving them a proper ironing and coming to the interview looking crisp and refreshed.
  • Watch Those Non-Verbal Cues – Interviewing can be tough. However, it’s not going to be as hard as the real job is. If you’re on hour three of your interview day, make every effort to ensure that you appear as sharp as you did on your first hour. Sit up straight, keep your fidgeting to a minimal, and try not to touch your face – especially rubbing your eyes. Even the strongest candidates start to crack after a couple of hours of interviewing, so in-between interviews, use the restroom to take a quick pause, stretch your legs, and take some deep breaths.
  • Resume Paper Was Created For A Reason – Most interviewers will bring a copy of your resume with them to the interview, however, I’m starting to think that I might just ask each candidate to give me a copy. If I can take 5 minutes to print out your resume, then so can you. Those that are serious about a position should go the extra mile and print their resume out on some high quality paper. I know it’s expensive, and most interviewers will already have a copy of your resume with them, but even taking it out and setting it on top of your notepad or binder shows that you came to play ball. That brings us to our next topic…
  • Take Notes – Our company’s website does not have everything about us listed on it. There are a ton of things that make us a special place to work. If you’re truly interested in what we do and are looking for a place that fits your wants and needs, and not just provide you with a predictable paycheck, then take notes and ask interesting questions. We’re looking for people that “get the joke” and this is always a way to send that message.
  • Follow-Up – As an interviewer, I will always hand out my business card, and I mean it when I say “if you have any questions or comments that pop up on your way home, or even a couple of days later, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me”. If I do not hear from you, I will assume that you are not interested. Whether it is an hour or a week after the interview, it means a lot to me, and most potential employers, to hear from you after the interview. Sending an email takes 15 minutes and may land you in a position that you like for a company that you love.

So there you have it. I’m sure that there are several more items that are no brainers, but these are the ones that seem to be missed time and time again. What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? Is there anything else that you think is absolutely essential to do on an interview? If so, leave your comments down below; I look forward to reading them.

Truebluetitan is the personal blog of Rob Schultz, a 30-something from Pittsburgh, PA.

One Comment on “Interview 101: Back To Basics

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