Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Do's and Don't For Job Interviews

After what seems like an eternity of waiting, you finally get that call: You've been asked in for a job interview.  That doesn't mean your work is over.  The interview is merely the first step in getting a job.  It gets you through the door, but you can be kicked right out again if you are not properly prepared.  Here is a list of things you should and shouldn't do before and during an interview:

You Should...

  • Research the employer.  How else are you going to be ready when they ask you what you know about the organization?  If there is too much hesitation in your answer, they are going to know you didn't do your homework.
  • Dress professionally.  When in doubt, lean towards a conservative dress code.  Avoid wearing perfume, cologne, or aftershave.  You want to smell nice, but you're not going on a date.
  • Request business cards.  You're going to want to know the contact information of your interviewer so you can reach them in the future.
  • Make eye contact, but don't stare.  There's a fine line between these two things.  Eye contact shows your interested, staring is just creepy.
  • Send a thank-you letter.  Do this the minute you get back from the interview.  Many job search professionals believe not sending one can cost you the job.
You shouldn't...

  • Be late.  This seems obvious but sometimes it's out of your control.  That's why you should leave as early as you can to counteract any unforeseen events (traffic, train breaking down, etc).  If something happens that sets you back, make sure you contact the employer to let them know you will be late.
  • Bring drinks or food.  Eat your breakfast before the interview, not during it.
  • Put down previous employers.  You might not think too highly of your previous jobs, but interviews are not the place to vent about them.  Keep your negative thoughts to yourself.
  • Bring notes.  You should have things you are prepared to say, but don't sound rehearsed.
  • Be modest about your accomplishments.  Let them know all the important things you have done for previous employers, and how that work made a difference.  Don't be afraid to brag!
  • Bring up money. Let the interviewer broach that topic.  If they do, be honest about how much you made in the past and what you expect to make.

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