1. Read current interviewing books to help you appropriately answer questions.
The types of questions interviewers ask can change through the years, plus the books can help you to understand the motivation behind certain types of questions. There’s nothing worse than responding to questions with “I don’t know.” Being prepared ahead of time will give you more confidence and make your interviewing session much more successful.
2. Dress for the part.
It will be assumed that how you dress for the interview is how you’ll dress for the job. Do you look clean, neat, and professional? Or slumped in raggedy clothes like you are cramming in the interview against your will on your day off? You should also dress similarly to other people holding your targeted position within that particular company. An electrician should hardly show up in a suit and tie, while an office manager had better not show up in jeans and work boots. Before your interview, sit in the company parking lot (or across the street) and observe employees’ clothing as they leave for the day. Or walk inside and ask for a company brochure or annual report—look around at how employees are dressed. A little research can go a long way!
3. Take extra resumes and note-taking materials with you.
You may need to hand out more resumes if the interviewer has misplaced yours, a faxed copy has faded too much, or if other managers join the interview and want a resume. You’ll need the note-taking materials to write down the names of the people you interview with and the key points about the job for thank you letters. Plus, the notes will help you keep everything straight in your mind if you have more than one interview. Before your interview, you can also include in your notebook a written list of questions you want to ask in case your mind blanks out under pressure. Above all, you’re demonstrating you have arrived prepared and ready.
4. Be on time.
An employer will assume that if you can’t be on time to get the job in the first place, you won’t be on time for the actual job either. It’s better to arrive extra early and wait in your car until a few minutes before your appointment than to breeze in late looking flustered and starting off with an annoyed interviewer.
5. Write a thank you letter to each person you interviewed with immediately.
First, it’s good manners. Second, some employers will make their hiring decisions based partly on whether or not they get a thank you letter—no letter, no job. Write a professional looking letter while the interview is still fresh in your mind. You must absolutely spell the names right and use the correct titles even if you have to call the company receptionist to ask for the information “for a letter you’re sending”. Thank you letters also give you one more opportunity to highlight your greatest qualifications, overcome any possible concerns the interviewer had, and put your name back in front of the employer.