by sysop in Acing the Interview
by Liz Hine
There is an art to being authentic and professional in an interview. As recruiters, we see a broad range of personalities, temperaments, and backgrounds. The diversity of experiences we see is astounding from interview to interview. There are many different methods and styles of interviewing techniques and approaches, and candidates often aren’t sure how to prepare. You’ve been coached by career centers, teachers, colleagues, and information you’ve read on the Internet – and let’s face it: some of the advice contradicts the next piece of advice!
Here are some practical tips to make you shine at the interview:
- Show respect for the people you interact with in the office, even those who are not interviewers – Stand when greeting someone new, shake hands, and introduce yourself. The way you treat everyone, from the receptionist to the senior interviewer, will be noted.
- Dress professionally – Your attire should be professional and not distracting. If the interviewers remember more about what you were wearing than what you were saying, you’ve missed the opportunity. Ask if there is a discrete place to leave your bags where they won’t be distracting. Unless you were specifically asked to bring materials, there’s no need to bring your computer or briefcase to the interview.
- Treat interviews as a professional conversation and not a personal one – please do not volunteer information about where you are from, your family, or other personal details that are not relevant to the job for which you are applying. Interviewers are careful to treat you and all of the other candidates fairly and not show favoritism or discrimination based on any of those factors, but you also should be aware that those conversations are not relevant in an interview space.
- Listen to the questions asked and answer with specific and thorough examples – There is a balance between answers that are too long or too short. Try to find the sweet spot where you answer the question asked without giving a 10-minute monologue.
- Signal your interest by your posture – Sit up straight and face the interviewers. If you make yourself too comfortable in your chair, you signal disinterest or lack of engagement in the conversation.
- Be cautious about how you end an interview – If the last thing an interviewer hears from you is an aggressive sales pitch about why you are the best candidate, most interviewers will leave with a bad taste in their mouth regardless of how the rest of the interview went.
If you keep these ideas in mind and come to interviews with an authentic and humble approach, you’ll put your best foot forward.