Preparing for a job interview is like studying for an exam. You need to do all the legwork ahead of time to be able to perform your best on that important day.
Plan ahead to avoid these 6 common mistakes:
1. Do your research:
Make sure you know the history of the company. What is their mission? What is their vision for the future? Have they merged with other companies? Is there a clear company culture? Have they been in the press for anything innovative or for being leaders in the industry? Learn what you can about the person interviewing you so you can find common ground on which to chat. Show them you are informed.
2. Dress code:
It is better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. If you think most male employees wear suit pants and a collared shirt, add a jacket and tie to your interview outfit; women are wearing pants and a sweater – wear a pantsuit.
A confident handshake with eye contact is key. It is one of the first impressions you make and carries over into the interviewer’s view of you going forward.
4. What to bring:
Bring a small portfolio folder with an extra resume, paper, pen and a list of questions you want to ask. You want to look prepared. Put your phone on total silence, or better yet, turn it off.
5. Thank you:
Thank the interviewer. It is okay to ask about a timeline or next step. If possible, have a notecard with you that you can use to write a thank you note and leave it in reception before you depart. It is fine to email a thank you, but a handwritten note will have more meaning.
If you don’t get the job, don’t become silent. The interviewer may well have valued you but had a stronger candidate for that particular position. Stay politely in touch with the interviewer in case another opportunity arises in the future.
Once you have the job, read here for 9 ways to avoid being unprofessional!