When searching for employment, you want to stand out from the crowd. Employers look for the special something that the very best candidates possess. Here’s some advice from recruiters:
- Research the company and, if possible, on the interviewer. You shouldn’t be asking “What exactly does Widgets make?”
- Dress appropriately and conservatively. Don’t assume that because the employees are in jeans, that you should do the same. You want to be taken seriously. Save the casual clothing for after you are hired.
- Listen carefully to your interviewer’s name and title. It’s OK to ask for a repeat; far better than calling him or her by the wrong name.
- After the interview, make notes right away so you don't forget critical details.
- Get the business card of everyone who interviews you. You’ll need it for the next part:
- Promptly (with 24 hours) send a thank you note to each person who has interviewed you, and people who are invited to “sit in” during an interview, even if the person just listens. A thank you note by email is perfectly fine in most if not all interviews. It’s less about the format and more about appreciation and sincerity.
- Ask questions about the salary unless your interviewer brings it up. If all goes well, the salary is something you can negotiate later if you get a job offer.
- Ask in detail about benefits, particularly time off. They want to see a self-starter, not someone choosing to take it easy.
- Speak negatively about your current job, company or boss. Employers are looking for upbeat, positive energy from you, and the last thing you want is to come across as a complainer. The trick to be both honest and tactful.
- One way to accomplish the above is to describe the management style of the company you are hoping to leave. For example, you may say something like “My current position is extremely hands-on, and I prefer to work more independently.” Or focus on your ambitions for the future and how this prospective employer fits in with that plan.
Now that you know the basics…relax and enjoy the interview. If nothing else, it’s good practice for you, and an opportunity to learn more about a company/industry.