5. Come Prepared
Depending on what job you’re interviewing for, you’ll want to bring some materials. No matter what, you’ll want to bring these things:
- Several Copies of Your Resume
- A Notebook or Notepad
- A Pen
- A Portfolio (if applicable)
So the first three items on this list are pretty self explanatory, but if you’re applying for a job where work you did in school or previous jobs is applicable, bring that work. Many jobs like this will require a portfolio, especially art, graphic design, architecture, and similar jobs. However, it’s cool to bring a portfolio to interviews that might not necessarily ask for one. For example, I’ve spent most of my employed life as some variation of an office assistant due to my young age, as well as my lack of experience and discernible skills. One would think that because I’m an office assistant, I wouldn’t have a portfolio to show. In the future, however, I do want to show that I’m good at what I do, so at my current job I created and now teach a new hire orientation to help new employees learn the office better. I’ve kept the PowerPoints that I’ve made. I’ve also put together mini-handbooks for the other office assistants, that way if I’m out for a day or even leave my job, the people in my place know what to do. This manuals and PowerPoints are good additions to your portfolio, and will show the interviewer that you’ve gone above and beyond.
4. Dress Comfortably, But For the Job You Want
People either put way too much or way too little into what to wear to an interview and I’m not here to specifically tell you how to dress. In fact, I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to, and here’s why. If you are interviewing for a job at a major accounting firm, your interview outfit may be different than if you’re doing an audition interview for a back up dancing position for Britney Spears. What is appropriate for one interview might not be appropriate for another. A general rule is to dress for the job you want, and if that job is something pretty casual, take it up a notch or two. For example, if you are interviewing for a position in an office where the attire is business casual, take it up a notch for the interview with a suit or at least a blazer.
Be sure to dress comfortably. If you wear a pair of heels and aren’t accustomed to walking in them, a pair of professional flats would probably be a better idea. If it’s obvious that you’re uncomfortable in your clothes, it will detract from the actual interview.
3. Do Your Research
Okay, so I know this is similar to Tip #5, but it’s really important that you learn as much about the job you’re interviewing for and, if possible, the positions of the people interviewing you. The more you learn about the company, the job, and the people, the better equipped you are to know what you’re getting into. If you know some of the company’s core values and ideas, it helps you to better prepare for you you’d like to present yourself in your interview. It’s also important to do your research because you want to know if the company’s values align with your own, because you don’t want to work for a company that engages in practices that you’re uncomfortable with.
2. Treat Everyone Like The Boss
When you arrive to your interview (15 minutes early or you’re late), treat every single person, plant, and animal that you encounter like they’re the boss, which means giving them attention and respect. If you treat the person working at the reception desk like they’re an idiot, you lose the respect of the people in the office. As someone that works the front desk, I have been asked multiple times what I thought of an interview candidate, if they treated me with respect, if they seemed nervous, arrogant, etc. Also, if you assume everyone is the boss, you don’t run the risk of talking down to the person that you later find out is interviewing you. Treat everyone in place you’re interviewing with kindness and respect, and sending thank you notes after your interview is never a bad idea either.
1. Ask Questions
If you’ve ever done an interview, towards the end you know that you’ve been asked the dreaded, “Do you have any questions for us?” This is terrifying, because you don’t want to ask anything tactless like “How much vacation time will I get?” but if the job posting didn’t include the wage or salary, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I didn’t see a wage listed on the job posting, what is the pay rate for this position?” More importantly, though, you want to ask questions about the position itself, of course not asking a question that was answered in the job posting, because then you appear as if you didn’t do your research. It’s important to read over the job description before the interview and write down any questions you wanted to ask, or things you were confused about. If you weren’t confused, a question I like to ask is, “What are you looking for in an ideal candidate?”