Visit Google sometime and type in “interview tips.” In less than quarter of a second, you’ll have 187,000,000 articles, posts, and pages filled with advice on how to ace your next interview, tips for job search and career success, and other helpful hints.
It’s been done before, so there’s no reason for me to write 187,000,001st article on the subject.
While there are plenty of ways to ace your next interview, there are also a slew of ways to expertly mess it up. I’ve compiled a list of ways to fantastically mess up an interview. Keep these 7 tips in mind before your next interview:
1. Don’t bring anything
Sometimes they ask for it, but most of the time they do not. Employers simply expect you to know what to bring to an interview and to be prepared. While every industry is different, the bare minimum to bring to an interview is a copy of your resume, your portfolio, a pen, and a pad of paper.
2. Wear what you want
Jeans and t-shirt? Not a problem! It’s whatever you want to wear, right? Not quite. While you should wear something comfortable, don’t get too comfortable, what you wear tells the interviewer you respect and value them and the company. As a rule of thumb, dress slightly nicer than one would usually dress when working in the position.
3. Nix the research
The interview is all about you, right? There’s no need to know about the company! Not even close, and not cool. While the interview is about you, it’s also about how you fit in the company. Do some research about the company, its products or services, competition, target customers, salary rates, interview process and the company culture (if you can find this information). Before you can convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the company, you have to figure that part out on your own.
4. Arrive fashionably late
You know it takes exactly 23 minutes to get from your house to the company, so why leave any earlier? Follow Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And, even if you’re on-time, you’re late. Try to arrive at least five to ten minutes before your interview – this tells the employer you are a punctual person and won’t be a tardy employee.
5. Wing it
Just like the toast at your brother’s wedding, this might not be the best time to just wing it. Even the most solid folks fall victim to butterflies, so you want to be as prepared as possible. Practice interviewing in front of the mirror or with a friend. Review the major points of your resume. Practicing really helps.
6. Don’t offer anything extra to the conversation
The interviewer should and will lead the conversation, but that doesn’t mean you have to act like a criminal in an interrogation room. When asked a yes-or-no question, open the answer up with an example, but avoid digressing into unrelated topics. Connecting conversation topics logically with examples that demonstrate your understanding of the position helps the interviewer see the entire package you offer.
7. Ditch the thank you note
Why should you send a thank you note? After all, you were the one that went to meet them! They should send you a thank you note. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
In addition to an E-mail follow-up, send a hand-written thank you note addressed to the person(s) who met with you. Thank them for their time, tie up any loose ends from the interview, and revisit any especially strong points about your qualifications.