Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Professional Etiquette: Rock the Interview

This Levenger Circa Folio is the perfect interview accessory!
A few people in my inner circle are looking for new jobs, and interviews are often the most nerve-wracking part of the job-search process. Next time you have a big interview ahead, remember these tips (and you'll rock it!):
  • Dress professionally. Even if the company you're interviewing for is very casual, it's important to look put-together and well-groomed. In the case of interviews, overdressing is better than under-dressing. If a suit doesn't feel quite right, try a pencil skirt with a crisp button down and some posh pumps.  
  • Be on time, but not 30 minutes early. Showing up late for an interview can translate into an apathetic attitude. I recommend allowing extra time to arrive at the site of your interview, and if you get there a little too early, find a coffee shop and relax for a few moments before heading in. 
  • Have your resume printed (on nice paper) and ready to give to interviewers. 
  • Greet your interviewers with a firm handshake and look them in the eye as you greet them. This will demonstrate your confidence (which I know you have!). 
  • Ask questions. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the people and the opportunity, helping you to determine if this job is really one that is worth taking. Ask about everything from why your interviewer enjoys the company, to the company's biggest challenges, your start date, and benefits. 
  • Demonstrate confidence. Answer questions truthfully and confidently, and take each one as an opportunity to highlight key attributes of your experience. If you feel put on the spot, it's ok to think for a minute. Pausing and then providing a well-thought out answer will be valued over rambling on nervously about nothing. 
  • Take notes. When your interviewer tells you something about the company, something that might be relevant to the position, or something interesting about themselves that you'd like to remember, jot it down! This shows that you're listening and actively engaged in the conversation. (Hint: Make sure you have a nice notebook or folio with you. I love the one pictured above- it has a classic look, plus the pages easily remove so you can ditch your notes when you no longer need them.)
  • Finish by asking about next steps. Before the interview concludes, confirm whether they will follow up with you (and when) or if you'll need to follow up. Ask about timelines and, if you haven't already, ask when the position will start. I also like to close things out by asking for my interviewer's business card, which helps with the next step...
  • Follow up. A hand-written thank you note is the best way to follow up, but it's not always feasible. If the only contact information that you have is an email, then that is acceptable. Either way, be prompt! Send a thoughtful note thanking the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to meet with them, and briefly reinforce why you would be a good fit for the position. This is a change to repeat some of the information that you took notes on during the interview- it will remind the interviewer of your conversation and make the note more personal. 

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