As today’s job market becomes increasingly competitive, job opportunities are getting harder to come by. When you finally do get your chance at an interview, you don’t want to blow the job opportunity because of some silly faux pas that you could very easily avoid. To help you put your best foot forward in the job market, here is a list of ten habits that you should exhibit during a job interview to make a great impression.
1. Be punctual – You never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you’re not at the interview when it is scheduled to begin, you are already making a bad first impression without even being present. To be at the top of your game, you should arrive a little bit early to collect yourself and ensure that you are calm and composed.
2. Dress appropriately – When you are getting dressed for an interview, you want to pick out clothes that are professional and conservative. In addition, you should avoid wearing any perfume or cologne. You don’t know what kind of sensitivities your interviewer may have, and you don’t want your aroma to occupy the person’s attention.
3. Show that you know the company/organization – One of the worst things an interviewer can realize is that the person applying for a job knows absolutely nothing about their company. A quick Google search of the company’s practices, goals, and history will show the interviewer that you are serious about this position, and you know what working for that particular company will entail.
4. Keep your conversation universally appealing – While your mom may think you are the funniest person ever, your sense of humor may not charm everyone. It’s best to play it safe; you can show your personality, but you should keep the jokes to a minimum to ensure that you don’t inadvertently rub someone the wrong way. In the same vain, your discussion should be kept completely professional and free of all suggestive or flirtatious language.
5. Think about your body language – People judge others based on their body language without even realizing it. Throughout the interview, you shouldn’t fuss with your hair or hands because these gestures indicate that you are nervous. Also, maintaining eye contact will demonstrate confidence in yourself and your skills.
6. Be specific enough – Rambling talk and broad statements make the interviewer think you don’t actually have anything to say. If you are specific and direct about your past experiences and goals, you’ll show that you have drive in your career and take yourself and your job seriously.
7. Have questions prepared – At an appropriate time in an interview, you should ask relevant and open-ended questions to express that you are interested in the job. Prepare a couple of questions ahead of time, so you don’t get stuck when you are on the spot.
8. Stay positive – Even if you had a terrible experience at your last job, it’s best if you put a positive spin on even the negative situations. Your potential employer doesn’t want to hear about how difficult your last boss made your life.
9. Don’t talk about money on the first interview – Unless the interviewer brings up your salary, you will likely want to avoid discussing money until the second interview or your call back. After the interview, you want them thinking about your qualifications rather than your salary requirements.
10. Write a thank you note after the interview – The day after your interview write a little thank you note to the interviewer(s). This small gesture will remind the employer about you and show them that you are really interested in the position.
Since some of you may have never had the opportunity to interview someone, you may not realize that these seemingly minuscule details can make a huge difference during the hiring process. Follow these guidelines to be certain that something you can easily correct isn’t holding you back from your dream job.
Here are some additional resources to help you prepare for your next interview:
- Before The Interview – Boston College
- Interviewing skills guide | Career Services | Virginia Tech
- 5 steps for winning the interview
Published or updated April 4, 2011.