Work on your handshake: Don’t offer up a flimsy or sweaty hand. Instead, when you meet with prospective employers or interviewers, offer a firm handshake, with one or two pumps from the elbow to the hand. It’s a good way to illustrate your confidence and start the interview off on the right note.
Get serious: If you take a casual approach to the initial interview with a company, especially with a screening interviewer from the human resources department, you may be sealing your fate. Job seekers should treat every interview as if it’s their one and only chance to sell themselves to the recruiter.
Practice makes perfect: Keep the aforementioned cliché in mind if you’re offered an interview for a job you may not even want. Go on the interview anyway; you can make contacts for future job opportunities and get valuable interview practice. Who knows? You may even want the job after all.
Be enthusiastic: Bring a positive attitude to your interview. Most interviewers won’t bring back someone who has a negative presence or seems like they almost need to be talked into the job. “You’re selling yourself and part of you is the positive approach you’ll bring to the office every morning,” says Alison Richardson, a recruiter for several New York financial firms. “That smile and friendly demeanor go a long way.”
Ask questions: When interviewing for a new position, it’s essential to have a handful of questions to ask your potential employer. Some questions could include: What do you consider to be the ideal background for the position? What are some of the significant challenges? What’s the most important thing I can do to help within the first 90 days of my employment? Do you have any concerns that I need to clear up in order to be the top candidate?
Tell a story: Your interviewer wants to know about your skills and experiences, but he or she also wants to know about you. Don’t fire off routine answers to questions. Instead, work your answers into stories or anecdotes about yourself. People remember the people who are interesting. Prove your value by tailoring stories that address the main concern an interviewer may have: What can you do for us?
Show some restraint: During an interview, what you don’t say may be as important as what you do say. As a rule, don’t talk about money or benefits, especially during the first interview. You should already know if you fit the parameters. Don’t badmouth about any of your past employers. Organizations don’t hire complainers. Don’t mention outside career aspirations or part-time jobs. Employers are looking for people who want to be part of their organization for the next decade and beyond.