You Don’t Have a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

by Grissel Rivera, HR Recruiter with Verizon Wireless, Boca Raton, FL

Professional etiquette will help you make a lasting impression in the interview process. Consider the following tips:

DO:

  • Dress appropriately to show you take the interview seriously.
  • Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, find a restroom to freshen up, etc. Arrive early — 15 – 20 minutes prior to the interview start time.
  • Take a pad and pen along with you for any notes you wish to make during or after the interview.
  • Offer a confident greeting and have a friendly expression when the interviewer welcomes you. Maintain good eye contact and display other indications of interest during the interview.
  • Be honest and be yourself. You want a good match between yourself and the position.
  • Explore motivational fit when an interviewer gives you a chance to ask questions. Some sample questions include:
    •  How would you describe the work environment here? Team oriented? Competitive? Fast-paced?
    • What’s your management style like?
    • Will training be provided to the new employee?
    • How is performance evaluated?
  • Show a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
  • Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Complete your research about the position in advance and ask questions that you did not find answered in your research.
  • Make sure you understand the interviewer’s next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
  • Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly. Electronic mail and voicemail are acceptable.

DON’T:

  • Make excuses as you answer questions. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
  • Make negative comments about previous employers or professors (or others).
  • Falsify application materials or answers to interview questions.
  • Treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice.
  • Make the interviewer guess what type of work you are interested in; it is not the interviewer’s job to act as a career counselor to you.
  • Be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being unprepared will not benefit you.
  • Show frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
  • Go to unnecessary extremes with your posture; don’t slouch or sit rigidly on the edge of your chair.
  • Chew gum or smell like smoke
  • Take cell phone calls during an interview. If you carry a cell phone, turn it off during the interview to be sure it doesn’t ring.
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