Hurwitz, vice president of New York City-based Joel H. Paul & Associates, Inc., a national executive search firm for the nonprofit sector, told an audience at a recent Fundraising Day in New York that preparing for an interview can be the hardest part of the job search. He explained that while a job interview can get you in the door, your behavior or appearance can kick you out just as fast.
Hurwitz offered the following do's and don'ts to help you prepare:
- Research the employer. You don't have to memorize the mission statement, but at least know some key facts about the organization.
- Prepare for multiple interviews. Sometimes one interview isn't enough. There are many employers who will use multiple job interviews to see how you fit in the organization as a whole.
- Dress professionally. When in doubt, err on the side of conservative. Avoid wearing perfume or aftershave.
- Ask for business cards. You want to remember the person who interviewed you to make it easier to call them back in the future.
- Make eye contact. Be friendly without forcing chumminess.
- Immediately send a thank-you letter. This can be the difference between getting and not getting the job.
- Be aware of what's said on the Internet about you.
- Be late. This seems obvious but there are many unexpected factors that can cause this. To give yourself time, leave earlier than you need to.
- Bring coffee or other beverages.
- Speak ill of your previous or current employers.
- Bring up salary or benefits. If the employer mentions it, be honest about what you've made and what you want to make.
- Be modest. This is your time to shine. Emphasize both what you've done personally and what you've done in a team.
- Say how you would fix their problems.
- Bring notes. Prepare beforehand for questions but don't sound rehearsed.