Landing your ideal job does not begin and end at the job interview. What you do before and after can have as much impact as what you do and say during the interview. These tips will prepare and help you stand out from the other candidates during your job search.
These are the steps I teach in my business etiquette courses.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
Before heading into an interview, you need to do some preparation to ensure success.
Research the Company
Look at their website and review their Mission Statement, Leadership and Staff for topics you can discuss in the interview. Take note of any specific initiatives or projects highlighted on the website. Next, check out their social media for insight into their company culture. Ask yourself: Is this the type of company you want to work for?
Research the Position
What qualifications do you have that are relevant to the position? If you don’t have specific training in a certain area, look to see if it’s something you can improve on through classes or seminars. Have this information ready to share at the interview. Come up with a list of questions about the position.
Prepare for the Interview
Be prepared for common interview questions. Have your answers ready to respond to these types of questions.
Have some questions prepared to ask during the interview.
Check on the travel time to get to the interview so you aren’t late. If it’s an area you aren’t familiar with and it’s close enough, take a dry run of the travel route.
DURING THE INTERVIEW
Be on time. Yes, I know that sounds like a given but you would be surprised at the number of candidates who are late for interviews. I suggest arriving 10-15 minutes early to the location. This will allow time to walk in, use the restroom, if necessary, all without feeling rushed.
Bring extra copies of your resume and references even if you have already have a copy. Also, remember to bring a notebook and pen to take notes. Please do not take notes on your phone. It can give the appearance that you aren’t paying attention and instead are scrolling through social media.
Dress appropriately for the position you are interviewing for. Dress codes have evolved since the pandemic and in some job environments they have become more casual. If you’re unsure what would be appropriate attire, do a little research on the company website and social media accounts.
No matter what you wear make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle free. Set out your clothes the night before. Inspect them for loose threads, stains or holes and either fix them or select something different to wear.
Have good posture, make eye contact and give a solid handshake. Not too tight and not too limp on the handshake.
Do not talk negatively about previous employers or co-workers.
Be prepared to share specific examples of work that you’ve done that are related to the position for which you are interviewing.
At the conclusion of the interview, ask if any additional interviews are required. It’s also perfectly acceptable to ask when to expect a decision.
AFTER THE JOB INTERVIEW
Send an email within 24 hours, thanking them for the opportunity to interview for the position. If they requested additional information during the interview, you can do so in the “thank you” email.
Some may say that a handwritten thank you note is obsolete but I believe it will set you apart from the other candidates. That is why I highly recommend that you send a handwritten note the next day, again thanking them for the opportunity and that you look forward to hearing their decision.
If you have not received a response within the time frame stated at the interview, a follow up phone call asking if a decision has been made is appropriate.
The bottom line is to do your research before the job interview and follow up afterwards. These two things will give you the confidence and set you apart from the other candidates.
Suzy Lins is a certified etiquette trainer located in Southern California. Educating on manners and etiquette to help people gain confidence to master business and social situations is the core of her teaching.