Back to Basics

Earlier I mentioned a symposium I attended on helping homeless Veterans find jobs and some of the job seeking advice I heard there. There was one more bit of advice that’s been running around in the back of my head – do I blog about this or not? I decided the answer is yes. There’s nothing earth shattering here but it can’t hurt to get this kind of advice periodically during your job search.

Here are 15 basic tips that you need to aware of when you go to an interview or a networking meeting. Again, I hope there are no surprises here, but if there are, at least someone told you.  These are not in priority order, you need to do them all.

  1. Be on time. Before the interview know where you are going, how to get there, where you will park, etc. Plan to arrive 10 minutes (or so) early. Sit in your car and relax if you’re too early. Use the power building suggestions from by Body Language post while you wait.
  2. Be clean. I shouldn’t need to explain this.
  3. Smell good. This really should be “don’t smell.” Too much cologne or perfume is sometimes worse than none at all. I suggest you be a neutral as possible.
  4. Dress appropriately. I suggest you dress one step above what that office’s every-day work attire is. Guys – a business suit is not required or appropriate for all occasions. If they wear ties, you wear the suit. If they are business casual, you still wear the suit. If they are in jeans you wear dress pants and a dress shirt – tie is optional. If they are in shorts and filp-flops then you’re in business casual. Never less than business casual. Rarely more than business suit. If you don’t know what they wear, call the company and ask the receptionist. You don’t have to tell her your name J. Ladies – sorry but you’ll have to take your dress cues from my advice for guys. I’m not qualified to translate.
  5. Bring copies of your resume. I suggest between 2 and 5 copies. It depends on how many people you expect to meet.
  6. Bring something to take notes on. Not your hand or a pack of post-its. Don’t forget the pen.
  7. Remember your body language – smile, look people in the eye, offer a firm handshake.
  8. Speak clearly. Talk slowly, clearly. Use full sentences. Answer the question that is asked, nothing else. Don’t ramble.
  9. Remember your manners. Say please and thank you. I think you can use “sir” and “ma’am” but be careful. I may get some backlash on this, but some women take offense to ma’am because they say it makes them feel/sound old. I grew up with parents from the South and sir and ma’am are just part of who I am – no offense intended.
  10. Be patient. Take time to consider the question you’ve been asked before answering.
  11. No lying. Enough said.
  12. Ask questions. Be prepared to ask several questions (even if you already know the answers). You can ask about the company history, the strategic plan, their products, whatever – but show an interest in the organization.
  13. Ask when you can follow up. Even if they tell you when they plan to get back to you, ask when you can check back with them. Be proactive.
  14. Relax. This is a job interview. You are not being investigated for murder. The worse thing that can happen is that you don’t get this job. That’s okay – there will be others.
  15. Be yourself. Let them know all the ways you can make their organization better.

There you go – fifteen simple things to remember. Have a great interview!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s