All roles require some level of skill or certification. But for many positions, attitude is more important than skill set. Today, I want to share 5 practical tips for a successful interview.
Over my professional career, I have been fortunate to have roles that allowed me to hire my own team. As a result, I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of eager candidates looking for a job.
When someone doesn’t get a job, it’s generally not due to their competency. More often, they don’t get the job because of a “culture fit”, meaning they don’t have the right attitude or demeanor for the company. There are always certain jobs that qualifications and educations are vital, such as doctors, lawyers, or engineers. But in most roles, your attitude is more important than your skills.
I’ve been in too many interviews were the applicant either disqualified themselves or severely hurt their possibility of getting the job because of something that could have easily been prevented. Whether you are looking for a job or you know someone who is, here are five tips to make your next interview a success.
- Show up early. At the minimum, you should arrive five minutes early, though ideally you should arrive fifteen minutes before your designated time. This allows for any traffic incidents you may run into on the way to the interview. If you arrive too early, you can always wait in the car.
- Dress appropriately. Always follow any guidelines or instructions given by the hiring manager. When in doubt, overdress, and never wear jeans.
- Positive attitude. Smile, be enthusiastic, and don’t complain about anything. No interviewer wants to hire a grumpy candidate.
- Come prepared. Practice some common interview questions with a friend or family member before the interview. You should also know some information about the company and the job you are applying for. This not only impresses the interviewer, but allows you to ask helpful questions at the end of the interview about the company and the position. Finally, bring extra copies of your resume (ideally carry five copies with you to the interview) and consider printing your resume on cardstock or resume paper.
- Send a thank you. After the interview, send a quick email to the hiring manager thanking them for taking the time to chat with you. HR professionals and hiring managers usually have to spend a significant amount of time interviewing many different candidates. A thank you note serves to both genuinely thank them for the opportunity and remind them of your interview.
If you follow these steps and still don’t get the job, it doesn’t mean your interview wasn’t a success. Every interview is an opportunity to network and learn more about yourself. I have seen many times where professionals within an industry refer great candidates to others because of a great interview.
Today’s game plan is very practical: update your resume. That’s it.
Professionals say you should update your resume once per year, as your responsibilities, projects, and titles change constantly. Even if you have a secure job, you never know when another opportunity will present itself. Having an up-to-date resume in the bullpen shows you are prepared.