BY CAROLINE BANTON
Congratulations — you managed to get an interview for a position at your dream company. But don’t start celebrating just yet.
It’s not enough to get your foot in the door; you also have to make the right impression when you interview. From wearing the right clothes to making eye contact with the hiring manager, small gestures can have a big effect on your career prospects. Here are eight interview tips from the pros to help you land the job and take the next step down the road to success.
DRESS THE PART
An impeccable appearance will boost your confidence, according to Wendy Green, corporate coach and author of “50 Things You Can Do Today to Boost Your Confidence.” Prepare your interview attire days in advance.
Also, make sure your outfit is dry cleaned and ready to wear. Dress in a manner that is appropriate for the role for which you are interviewing, ensure that your hair is tidy and clean your fingernails. Keep jewelry, visible tattoos and piercings to a minimum.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY AND ROLE
What type of person is the company seeking? What skills should that person have? Assess existing staff and the corporate culture by doing your research about the company and the role you’re seeking before the interview. This will help you come up with questions to ask during the job interview. Lots of free job-hunting apps have great background information for you to use.
PREPARE INSIGHTFUL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
It’s important to prepare questions to ask at an interview. Your questions reflect your interest and knowledge. But, “you should also not ask questions that can be easily researched,” said Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, which provides professional writing services and training to businesses and individuals. “For example, asking about the organizational mission statement is not a good idea if that information is clearly posted on the company website.”
Instead, show interest in the interviewers by asking questions such as “What is your favorite part about working here?” and “What does the typical day-to-day look like for someone in this role?”
SHOW UP ON TIME
While arriving late is largely avoidable, it’s still a common complaint among interviewers. Gary McKraken, author of “Successful Interview Tips, Techniques and Methods for Job Seekers and Career Changers,” suggests, “Do a spot of reconnaissance first so you know where (the company) is, how to get there, where to park or what the public transport links are.”
If you are delayed for some reason and will be at least seven minutes late, show respect by calling the company and asking whether you should attend or reschedule.
KNOW YOUR INTERVIEWERS
Find out the names of your interviewers ahead of time and research their areas of expertise. To really knock an interviewer’s socks off, when responding to one participant, refer to another by name. For example, “To follow up on my response to Carol …” Remembering names is a difficult skill to master but one that leaves a lasting impression.
SMILE AND BE COURTEOUS
According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, hiring managers say failing to make eye contact is a mistake made by 67 percent of job candidates. Not making eye contact during an interview could imply that you’re not paying attention. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of candidates fail to smile.
Nonverbal behavior can be more important than what you say and, according to Psychology Today, smiling “opens doors.” To be approachable and engaging during your job interview, practice shaking hands, smiling, making eye contact and making small talk.
BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU SAY AND DO WHILE WAITING
You can read company brochures or scan the room for awards to refer to in the interview while waiting for your appointment. However, the Belgian firm Pauwels Consulting advises careful selection of reading materials: “Don’t take a financial paper or an annual financial report off the table if you don’t have a substantiated opinion on finances. Imagine what would happen if the recruiter asks you about your opinion, and you can’t give a satisfactory answer.”
Other tips from the consulting firm: Don’t bring your own irrelevant reading materials (like a magazine or book), don’t pull out your phone and don’t look worried or indifferent.
ASK FOR THE JOB
Laurie Berenson, master resume writer of Sterling Career Concepts, said, “Don’t be afraid to ask for the job … tell the interviewer that you’re interested in the role, that you feel you are a strong fit and would love to continue with the process.”
According to Berenson, being direct can give you a leg up on other candidates.
“You won’t leave them guessing as to your interest level, and you might just come out on top of another equally qualified candidate who rushed out without reiterating enthusiasm for the role,” she said.