A resume will simply get you in the door; it is up to you in terms of how you present yourself as to whether or not you will walk out the door with positive results. A professional appearance, your friendly, knowledgeable demeanor, and your attention to detail all impact how you are perceived.
1. What is the acceptable dress code for the position? Do your research and then dress one step above the job you are applying for.
2. Be aware that the interview starts before you walk in the door. Someone may see you drive up – are you talking on your phone while driving? Do you sit in your vehicle and text for five minutes? Will you spit or toss a cigarette butt in the flower bed as you approach the door?
3. Arrive a few minutes early. Allow time for traffic, road construction, parking, and any unexpected delays so there are no surprises. The extra time will give you the opportunity to use the rest room, double-check your appearance and gather your thoughts.
4. Bring with you extra copies of your resume, a list of references (including their contact information), a note pad and pen, and a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Do not bring coffee, a bottle of water, or anything else to eat or drink, including (especially) gum. Your cell phone should be turned off and put away (or left in the car).
5. Be courteous to everyone — you never know who has input on the hiring process. Introduce yourself to the receptionist, and then sit quietly until called. Keep your belongings together so it is easy to stand and extend your hand for a handshake in a smooth motion, without the need to go through a juggling routine.
6. Greet the interviewer with a firm hand shake, maintain good eye contact and be aware of your body language and posture through-out the conversation.
Research shows that the majority of our communication (more than 55%) comes through our body language. The way we stand, sit, move our hands, hold our arms, lean forward or sit back, and especially our facial expression, all convey a message; it’s important that your body language reflects the positive attitude portrayed by your words.
An interview is a conversation. There are no magic words or buttons to push to ensure everything goes off perfectly. Whether it is a job interview, a client meeting, performance review, or presentation, your attention to detail and the effort you put forth in your preparation are what make the difference.