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Interview Tips for the Job Seeker

With the current state of unemployment in the United States, and the continued influx of new graduates into the workforce, you need an edge that will make you stand out to any potential employer. Obviously, having impressive credentials such as a college (or advanced) degree and resume is the first step, but what happens when there are several candidates that are all very similar in educational and experience background?

The first impression you get to make is with your resume, but what may put you over the top is the way in which you interview. I asked around, collecting some insight from people who have been on both sides of the interview process, and received the following collection of tips (in no particular order of importance):

Do your research on the company so you can go in there not only with knowledge of its history, but to show that you are serious about becoming part of the future as well.

Make sure your appearance matches the job. If it is a professional atmosphere, go in clean shaven (or very neatly groomed), without earrings (for men) or excessive jewelry, in a nicely pressed suit with matching tie and shoes for men or an equally pressed shirt suit for women.

Have multiple copies of your resume, letters of recommendation, or other supporting documents in a briefcase or folder to show preparedness in case there is more than one interviewer.

Get plenty of rest and eat before going into the interview so you can be at your peak performance.

Shake all participants' hands and maintain eye contact during the entire process to show your self-confidence.

Never talk poorly about previous employers. If you bad-mouth one, the potential employer will most likely see you as a complainer.

Arrive early to demonstrate your dependability and interest in the position.

Do not go in smelling of smoke, or as if you bathed in cologne / perfume and use the restroom beforehand.

Speak clearly and properly with an even tone without the use of "big words" which you may not know the true use of. Nothing makes you sound less intelligent than misusing words, poor grammar, or the use of slang in an interview.

Sit up straight with your feet planted firmly on the floor to show your interest, but not so stiff that you look nervous.

Speaking of appearing nervous, keep from fidgeting ie: twirling pens, rolling up papers, playing with your clothes or hair, tapping feet.

Do not lie or exaggerate anything; honesty is always the best policy even if it means admitting a shortcoming. Chances are you will be found out to be a fraud, and word can get around: you do not know who they may know at other companies.

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