Very few people like doing interviews. This includes the hiring manager and the recruiter. It sucks for everyone but most of all for the candidate. As a candidate you are walking into a world where the rules are different and can change on a dime. That being said, there are not many times in this world where someone wants you talk about yourself.
You do realize by now that this is a game, right? There are rules and every company, job and interviewer has different rules but I think there are a few that almost everyone will agree on:
Accuracy matters: Please, please, please be sure to check your resume and cover letter for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Have one or two other people also look at them.
Timeliness matters: If you are not going to on-time for the interview, will you show up on-time 8 months later when the honeymoon is over?
Attire matters: Unfortunately there is not one dress code anymore so this is a little tougher. There are a few general rules though. First, have good hygiene. Seriously, some people skip this step. Also, no vulgar or offensive sayings on your shirt or bumper stickers on your car. I love the Chive as much as the next person but there are a few of their shirts that are inappropriate for interviews, unless it is with them.
Body language: Are you sitting up and leaning forward a little to show that you are engaged? Did you just doze off? Please do not shake my hand like I am your grandmother or make eye contact like I am Medusa.
Be prepared: Bring extra copies of your resume and have questions written down. If you ask questions it is also a good idea to write a few notes down when they answer them. Also, be sure to bring two writing instruments. Pen or pencil might be a company culture thing.
Write thank you notes: No, you do not have to write thank you CARDS but I would at least write a thank you email to each person you meet with. This is a great way to reiterate why you are a great match and the company / position is perfect for you.
This is the BEST you: Just like with a first date, this is the best you they are going to see. If you are not confident, act like you are.
HR might have more legalistic rules: There you are joking around with the HR guy after the interview about your last vacation to Vegas and you mention how “hot” the girls are there. Why don’t you just wear a sign that says “I am the reason that companies do sexual harassment training.”
Some people are idiots and some companies are full of them: If you run into one knucklehead in the interview process that asks an illegal question or you have sized up to be a SIB (to be covered in a later post) you might want to cut them some slack. Maybe no one told them that we are out of the 1900’s now. But if run into a few people like this it might just be the tip of the iceberg.
In the end interviewing is like any other game, it can be fun. I know there is a lot riding on it but just ask a SEC football fan… ALL games are important. They would rather lose a job opportunity than have their team lose a game. You need to tell yourself over and over that you want the RIGHT job and company, not just ANY job or company.
It’s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up.