Interviewing for a job is just like dating. Whether you are the employer or job seeker, you are looking for a match that can serve you for a period of time in your life. Depending on where you are in your career, you may be looking for an opportunity to hold you over until you find your dream partner, or you may be looking for “the one”. The key thing to remember is that the courtship of job interviewing goes both ways. Though we all have either sought out a relationship we wanted more than they wanted us (or vice versa), no matter which side you sit on, you should always put your best foot forward.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider when engaging in an interview.
- Be open to an opportunity. Always listen and answer when an opportunity comes knocking on your door. Though it may not look like the one you want to spend your life with, it could lead you there.
- Do your homework on the organization, culture and role. Get familiar with the key players at the organization and understand how integral your role would be for the company. There is nothing worse than getting into a relationship, realizing it is not for you, and having to “dump” someone. Conversely, your research could leave you pleasantly surprised and prove to open the door for a fantastic opportunity.
- From the moment you have your first interview, be prepared to tell the interviewer all positives you have found out about the company, role, leadership, etc. This will enable you to demonstrate why you recognize the job as a good opportunity. Also be prepared to ask questions which address any concerns.
- When you are interviewing, employers want to hear about your successes and achievements. Be prepared to discuss all the things you have done in previous roles which would not have been accomplished or created had you not been in the role. If you are early in your career, be ready to discuss the characteristics you have which differentiate you from your peers, and give examples of how you demonstrate those characteristics.
- When interviewing in person, always err on side of wearing business professional attire. Unless you are interviewing in a bar on a Saturday night, the beach on a Sunday afternoon, or on the golf course on a Monday, wear your best suit.
- Take some time to get to know your interviewer. Many companies have recruiters or HR staff conduct the first interview. Your goal should be to have everyone like you. If recruiting and HR give you their stamp of approval, you are starting the courtship in the right direction. If you are interviewing with the hiring manager, or person who would be your boss, it is even more crucial to get to know that person.
- Send a follow up thank you note or email to the people you met during your interview.
- Don’t ask about salary and benefits in your first conversation. Focus on the opportunity first; once the employer decides they want and like you, then you can be honest about where you need to be in salary to consider the opportunity. If your needs are out of their range but they love you, they may be able to make something work. If not, you both can part ways after having made a new industry connection.
- If you are a smoker and are interviewing in person, save your cigarette for after the interview.
- Do not show up to the interview late. Always allow yourself 30 minutes in case of traffic or unforeseen issues. However, never arrive at an interview more than 15 minutes early. If you are running late, call to let them know. If you are interviewing over the phone. Call at the scheduled time; do not call early as there is a good chance the interviewer will not be ready.