Now that we’ve covered Part I of Interviewing: Interview Etiquette in our previous blog post, we will now touch upon what we find to be the key pointers to having a successful interview from start to finish, which brings up an important question: when does the interview technically start? Many people might claim that it begins with the handshake with your interviewer, but we’re going to make an amendment to that preconceived notion.
Each office is set up differently, but a majority of organizations have a front desk receptionist. The receptionist is the gate keeper and is usually one of the only employees that interacts with all departments. He/she is an essential part of the company’s operations and we believe someone you need to respect and impress at all times. Even if you are nervous and preoccupied, be friendly to the receptionist! Smile and greet them. Turning on the bright lights with your interviewer after barely grumbling a hello to the receptionist is an ill-mannered faux pas! Imagine if your interviewer asked the receptionist’s thoughts on you after you left and that was his/her feedback. Not good. Plus if you do get the job, this is someone you want to have on your side.
Greeting your interviewer will set the tone for your interview. A firm handshake and good eye contact is essential. Here’s a great article from LinkedIn released about what your handshake shouldn’t be: How Not to Shake Hands. Depending on the personality of your interviewer, small talk can be appropriate, but should be kept to a minimum. You always want your interviewer to be in control of the conversation, which includes pre-interview chit chat.
Be a Good Listener
We find that what makes people most nervous during the interview process is the anticipation of a question that they won’t have the answer to. Listening carefully to the question and taking the time to understand what they’re asking is essential. When answering the question, be concise. Rambling can lead you off topic and waste time, so concision is important. Highlight the skills and experiences you have that are relatable to the job in every response. You want the interviewer to feel confident in your ability to handle the job duties, but also your ability to make a positive contribution to the team and the company as a whole. What new ideas can you bring to the role? Provide them with examples proving that you are qualified, efficient and innovative.
Don’t be afraid to have a dialogue with your interviewer. If you don’t understand the question, politely ask them to clarify. As you get deeper into the interview process, ask pertinent questions about the position so that you can get a better handle on the role as well as understanding their expectations. Questions liked, “what qualities do they think are necessary for someone to be successful in this position?” Learning about the managers or team members you would be working with/for can be enlightening and also helpful for your next round of interviews. If company culture is important to you, ask about it! What to take away from this section -- always have 2 or 3 questions prepared for the end of the interview. It shows that you are engaged and interested.
Wrap it up
If you feel the interview went well, don’t be afraid to let the hiring manager know you are very interested! If they haven’t indicated a timeline, politely ask what the next step in the hiring process would be and when they’re expecting to make a decision. Thank them for their time and seal the deal with another all-star handshake.
On a side note, not every job is going to be the right fit and you may know immediately that either the role or the company is not for you. That’s okay! We spend most of our lives at work and you have the right to be as selective as a hiring manager does. If after much thought you decide you’d like to remove yourself from the running, call your contact in HR or send a professional email thanking them for their time and consideration, but that after some thought you don’t believe this specific role is the right opportunity. If handled the right way, hopefully they will keep you in mind down the road for openings that might be better suited towards your background.
Thank You Notes
Whether you choose snail mail or email, thank you notes are always required. If the person you met with didn’t give you their business card, ask your HR contact for their information. If you met with more than one person, you need to write separate and different thank you notes. Keep your notes brief, summarize why you think you’d be a good fit for the role and reiterate your interest in the opportunity, and always thank them for their time and consideration. If you want to make a reference to something you connected about, professionally or personally, be sure to do it in an proper way where it’s a quick afterthought to what’s important—your interest in the job! Proofread your notes. Make sure there are absolutely NO spelling errors and that you spell the interviewer’s name correctly! Read it out loud and make sure the note flows.
Side note: even if your hire happens quickly as in you get a job offer same day (which is great news hooray!), still write a thank you note. Thank them for offering you the role and mention how excited you are to join their team. It’s the little things that make for a happy work family!
Stay tuned for our next post and remember to make us your first choice for career advice, resume writing and finding your next job!
First Choice Staffing is a boutique staffing firm located in midtown Manhattan with another office in White Plains. With over 25 years in specialty recruiting, our areas of expertise span several disciplines. We recruit for positions on a temporary, temporary to permanent, and permanent basis. Over the years, our firm has proven to be a consistent leader in the staffing industry, providing exceptional talent to small, mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies in the tri-state area. So whether you are a company seeking a new addition to your team, or a job seeker ready to expand your professional horizon, make us your first choice!
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