I interview lots and lots of people and frankly, have seen lots of weird things happen at interviews. The things that seem so obvious to me apparently are not to the average person. So, in an effort to help people make a better impression at interviews, here are my top five tips.
Research. Research. Research. Read the job description and the website. See if there is anyone you know who works there and could share some inside info. One of the trendy interview openers is “Tell me what you think this role is about”. Be ready for this.
Dress to impress. Don’t fool around with this one. Pay attention to the industry and the people in it. Remember you can always take off a tie and slip it into your pocket. You cannot discreetly pull a jacket out of your briefcase.
Find the location the night before – maybe even do a drive by. There is nothing worse than the stress of being late because you can’t find parking or you end up on the 28th floor of another tower. It’s sweaty and embarrassing.
Be on time. This is key. “On time” means you arrive at the appointed hour. Not a half an hour before. Not half an hour later. If you are hyper and want to appear eager, than five to ten minutes is plenty. More than that and you like you either don’t have enough to do or you have a very loose relationship with time. If you need to kill time, hang around outside, or in your car, not the reception area.
Practice your handshake. I know this sounds silly but it is important to get honest feedback on this because it is a really big part of the first impression you make. Ask the people you practice with to describe your handshake. Is it strong and confident? Too short or too long? Are your palms sweaty? It is better to know this stuff and deal with it than to have your presentation marred by a damp, limp greeting. You are better than that.