It’s interview day and you’re still sweating, because all you want to know is: “What’s the interviewer thinking?”
Surprise. The first thought that crosses an interviewer’s mind isn’t likely to be about how you’re dressed.
Instead, they’re praying you’re going to be the right person for the job. They’ve already talked to a lot of candidates and they still have this opening to fill. What they really want is for the next person who walks through the door – that would be you – to be the right one.
That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, so don’t get all laid back about your clothes. Because whether you look professional is the NEXT thought to go through the interviewer’s mind. Too often, candidates – particularly those without a job – show up wearing less-than-appropriate clothing. Don’t wear flip flops or worn out jeans. If you can’t make a good judgment call when it comes to interview attire, interviewers will be willing to bet you won’t make good judgment calls anywhere.
Even if business casual is company policy, don’t wear khakis. Recruiters say you want to look as polished and professional as you can.
Next, the interviewer wants to see that you’ve done your homework: Be sure you’ve looked at the company’s Web site, and identified issues and trends in the industry.
Go over the job posting and brainstorm the kinds of competencies the hiring manager is looking for, from attention to detail and communication skills to leadership ability. Then, think about your achievements and how they link to those qualities.
The next one is obvious. Or it should be.
Don’t be late. It’s just unacceptable. Scope out the location in advance – two hours before, or even the day before. When you do that extra legwork, you’ll be on-time, and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.
Finally, if there’s bad blood between you and a past employer, keep it to yourself. Never badmouth your past supervisors, employers or coworkers.