Preparing for an interview can be nerve-wracking. Sometimes prospective candidates focus so much on preparing for interview questions that they often overlook the basics, such as what to bring and how to dress. More often than not, interviewers are taking note on more than just your conversation. Interviewers are taking mental notes on how well prepared you are, in addition to your appearance. Here are some quick tips on how to conquer the basics and make a positive first impression:
1. Gentlemen: Be sure to wear a sharp, well-fitting suit along with a pressed shirt, minus loose threads and stains, with a properly tied tie. Gentlemen, your tie must be tied and lengthened properly! Look well-groomed, because being dressed in nice clothing doesn’t necessarily mean you look sharp. Clothing that fits properly and is clean is what makes you look sharp.
Ladies: Women should always wear a properly fitted suit, as well. Revealing necklines and flashy jewelry are not advised, nor is overpowering perfume. The same goes for properly fitted and well-groomed clothing. Neat and tidy rather than flashy and revealing is what gets you noticed and respected by prospective employers.
2. Come prepared with accessories to take notes. Whether it is a pad of paper and pen or an electronic tablet on which to take notes, be sure to have something to write with, and something to carry it in.
3. This is something many people do not think to bring: a print out of company information for the company you are interviewing with. This shows you have done your research and taken the time to highlight, annotate, and learn about the business.
4. Bring several copies of your resume. You might be interviewing with only one or two people, but you never know who might drop in during the interview. It’s better to be overly prepared than not properly prepared.
5. Have five or six written or prepared questions. Again, this will show that you have done your research on the company and will show an impressive level of preparedness. This will also ease the stress of having to think of questions off the top of your head during or at the end of the interview. It’s best to ask open-ended questions that will give you detailed answers about the company, position, and potential career progression. An example question is as follows: “What are the best things about working for this company?”
6. Job interviews bring a certain level of uncertainty; however, if you enter the interview with the appropriate materials, are well prepared, and dress to impress, you are already a step ahead. Last but not least, be sure to ask for the business cards of all the people at the interview so you can send a timely and imperative thank you email.