A Job Interview Review: 8 Do’s And 8 Don’ts
By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM, and James S. Rota
After several successful positions in the corporate world, we each chose to become entrepreneurs. One of our many roles as CEOs is to interview potential hires during a job interview.
The stories resulting from those interviews could fill volumes; some good, some painfully bad. Since many people use the summer to polish their resumes and set their sights on new career opportunities, we’re sharing a list of do’s and don’ts.
- Show up prepared. Find out as much as you can about the organization and its culture. The right job is a combination of responsibilities and the environment in which you are working. If one is off, nothing works.
- Continue that thought. Is the company privately or publicly held? If it’s public, is it traded on the market? How are its financials? Have there been newsworthy happenings in the past three months? Know what they are.
- Look closely at the position’s job requirements. Come prepared with specific examples of how you meet, if not exceed each.
- Be your authentic self. If you’re pretending to be the person they want, a good interviewer will sense it immediately.
- Dress in harmony with the company’s dress code and environment. If you’re interviewing for a creative position use that talent to express yourself in a creatively professional but not flamboyant way.
- Arrive at least 15 minutes early. This gives you time to check in, take a few deep breaths and compose yourself. Do a test run the day before to ensure that you know the route.
- First impressions are important. This is true whether you’re talking to the receptionist or the CEO. What you say and how you say it matters. Always offer a confident handshake and keep eye contact.
- Listen. Then speak. All too often people simply wait for a break in the conversation to say what is on their mind and don’t listen to what is being said.
- Exaggerate your work history. Lies of any kind, even in the form of exaggeration, are not acceptable. Period.
- Talk poorly about past or present employers.
- Discuss more than standard small talk about your personal life.
- Chew gum or fidget.
- Run the risk of having your cellphone go off mid-interview. Turn it off before you walk in. Even better, leave it in the car to avoid any risk of forgetting to turn it off.
- Present yourself as overly confident or cocky. Great leaders know how to be good team players and learn from everyone around them.
- Show up unable to articulate why you are the right person for the job.
- Focus only on your desire to be hired rather than the benefit hiring you will bring to the organization.
Interviews should not be fear-inspiring. They should give you a butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling because the anticipation of all that is yet to be is exciting. Show up confident, prepared, on time, well-dressed and having done your research, and you’ll do well.
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