Sure, you’ve got your foot in the door with your resume or application, but now they’re going to meet you. What if they don’t like you? What do you wear? What are you supposed to do?
Relax — you know what you’re doing, and you know how to be a good employee and you know what employers want.
However, if you’ve forgotten, remember these 10, tried-and-true commandments of successful interviewing:
1. Be polite at all costs
Your mom always reminded you do mind your manners — and she couldn’t be more right. Say please, thank you, and avoid talking over your interviewer. It might seem silly, but good manners (and sitting appropriately in that new outfit) can leave a lasting impression on a hiring manager.
2. Honor your interviewer’s time
In this economy, are you surprised at all that HR budgets are shrinking? That means there is less money to pay less people who have to do more work. Your interviewer is probably dealing with multiple tasks already, so respect their time. Show up early (but not too early), keep the interview going at a good pace, and leave when it’s obvious that they need to do something else.
3. Don’t forget your resume
They might not need it — but if your interviewer does need an extra copy of your resume, you’ll be prepared. Plus, having an extra resume on hand is a great refresher for you before you even head into the interview.
A great way to blow an otherwise successful interview? Be so nervous that the interviewer can’t really figure you out. Nobody wants to hire a fidgety, stressed-out mess. Figure out what helps you relax and practice that the night before, an hour before, and during the interview.
5. Shake hands like you mean it
Nobody likes the “dead fish” or “death grip” handshake, so do your best to avoid them! A firm handshake tells employers on a subliminal level what kind of employee you are. Shake hands (and maintain eye contact) at the beginning and end of your interview to start and end things well.
6. Practice for perfection
Think about any famous athlete, musician, or actor. Do you think they aced their first practice, rehearsal, or audition? Probably not. Practice all parts of your interview well before you walk in the door. Rehearsing the best handshake, answers, and poise can give you good peace of mind.
7. Do your research
If you’re going to be practicing, you might as well do some research as well. Put on the detective’s cap and research this company. Figure out who you’ll be interviewing with, who’s working in the position you’re vying for, and what makes this company different. Can’t find an answer? Ask this question in the interview.
8. Seek complete answers
The interviewer knows to ask you open questions instead of the yes-or-no variety. Do them a favor by answering each in the most complete way you can think of. Use complete sentences and carry the interview a little further so the interviewer can learn more about you.
9. Follow-up (appropriately)
At the end of the interview, you are given your first opportunity to follow-up. Ask any questions you need, thank your interviewer, and ask when you can expect an answer. Send a thank you note the day after your interview and then wait to follow-up around seven to 10 days. Many employers have preferences about following-up, so don’t be afraid to ask.
10. Leave in the right state of mind
Just about 100% of you reading this have either left an interview completely pumped or downright depressed. After it’s over, it’s over. Don’t beat yourself up about that extra “uhhh” or the hiccups you got mid-interview. Remind yourself that you did your best and relax — the worst is over.
Check out: 3 Interview Rules That Are OK to Break
What do you think? What would your 11th commandment of interviewing be? Do you disagree with any of the above? Share your thoughts in the comments below!