You may only get interviews from 5 or 6 percent of the resumes you send, according to executive staffing expert Marie Raperto. That's why it's essential that you understand the various do's and don'ts of interviewing. For starters, dress for the job. Wear a pressed suit or pant suit, even if the dress code is business casual. Maintain eye contact throughout your interview, which enhances your credibility. And, be sure to send a thank you note immediately after the interview.
Do Prepare in Advance
Prepare for all interviews in advance. Start by reviewing your resume. Review all job titles, dates and responsibilities. You must be able to discuss these duties without hesitation. List some of your major accomplishments. Be able to explain projects you worked on, people with whom you interacted and the overall results. Also, quantify your results. If you saved your department 20 percent on labor costs, state that result. And, always research companies before interviews. Visit their websites. Jot down important facts such as when they were established, products they sell, markets they cover and annual sales. Showing that you have this company knowledge demonstrates your interest in the job.
Do Have a List of Prepared Questions
Prepare a list of a five or six questions. The hiring manager may start out by asking if you have any questions. For starters, ask about the open position. Inquire about whether the person was promoted or replaced. A promotion may indicate future advancement opportunities for you. Inquire about projects you would be working on if you were hired. Another strategy is to state something you know about the company, and then follow up with a question, according to Virginia Tech. For example, you may say, "I read where you were introducing two new products next month. What could I contribute on the job to make the product introduction more successful?"
Don't Bring up Salary Information
First interviews are not the time to discuss salary. The hiring manager may ask you what your salary expectations are, but don't answer the question directly. Instead, divert the question back to the interview. Say something like, "I have a particular range in mind, but what is the salary range for this position?" If you provide a salary figure, you may sell yourself short, particularly if the salary range is higher than the amount you mention. And, if you want more than a company wants to pay, you may price yourself out of a job. Let the interviewer bring up salary and provide you with a salary range.
Don't Speak Badly of Employers
Don't speak negatively about present or past employers -- it makes you look bad. And, employers may deem you to be a problem employee, which may eliminate you from consideration. Avoid speaking badly of past employers, even if the interviewer asks you for an example of a bad supervisor. Instead, tell the hiring manager you have never worked for a bad boss. You could also say certain bosses were demanding, but that you learned a lot from them.
- CommPR.biz: Five Interviews Per 100 Resumes: Three Ratios to Improve Your Job Search Odds
- Virginia Tech: Questions to Ask Employers During Interviews
- The Wall Street Journal: How to Prepare for a Job Interview
- Rasmussen College: Common Interview Questions and Answers
- Cleveland State University: Career Tips