Spent a fair amount of time the last week interviewing candidates for an entry-level position we have open. I have to admit, in some cases I was a bit surprised by how they went, so I thought I’d share some of my opinions on how you might approach an interview (this’ll be brief, don’t fear!).
1) SELL YOURSELF. Omg, don’t give one word answers to open-ended questions! I’m giving you very open questions to get you to talk about yourself – don’t make me have to drag out answers. If the question is something like the old chestnut, “Do you prefer working as an individual or in a team environment?” don’t try and cover all bases and say “Both.” Be decisive and elaborate. Based on other questions you know I’m going to ask you to elaborate anyways, so just leap in. Give frank and candid answers. Go ahead and give examples without me having to hit you with a cattle prod. You’re on stage here with all the spotlights on you – run with it and shine! Eye contact is good too. Watch your body language – ’cause I am…
2) DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I gave you our website address up front. Go there. Read about us. Maybe even formulate some questions. Show me you care enough about the job that you did a little research ahead of time. Wanna impress me in an interview? Mention you’ve been all over our website. Ask questions about the business model or product lines. Inquire about competition and/or advantages. etc. etc.
3) DRESS FOR IT. Ok sure, the world has moved on to business casual for the most part (I’ll spare you my rant on that topic; besides, I’ve caved in too…). And I won’t hire or not hire a person just based on what they wore to an interview, that would be grossly irresponsible. BUT, you’re here to sell yourself and first impressions count. I’m not even suggesting a suit and tie here (although I personally, at a minimum, would go with a sport coat and tie.). Even if you know the office is biz-cas, dress nice. Maybe even peel off your parka at the door.
Now granted, the position is entry-level and that will affect how some folks ‘approach’ their interview. And not every candidate had ‘issues’ related to the above points, but I have to confess I was startled a bit.