The first minute of the interview is critical! Psychologists have revealed that half of the interviewer’s decision is decided within the first minute of an interview. You must get off to a good start. Do this by being extremely aware of your body language and nonverbals (see below). Also, use the interviewer’s name and shake their hand. Wait until the interviewer asks you to be seated or has already taken his or her seat. Finally, let the interviewer begin the discussion and try to pick up clues about the style and direction of the interview.
Pay attention to your nonverbal behavior and try to
1) maintain eye contact
2) smile frequently
3) lean slightly forward (expresses interest)
4) nod your head from time to time
5) and sit in an attentive (no slouching!) posture.
Think ahead and predict questions the interviewer might ask you. Be prepared to answer questions about:
4) the company
5) the industry.
Be especially prepared to elaborate on subjects directly related to the position. Also, always be sure to discuss relevant experiences that make you stand out among your peers.
Ask the interviewer questions! Don’t let yourself be interrogated – prepare a list of several well-thought out questions, especially those that allow the interviewer to express his or her opinion (i.e., “How do you think this company will improve its engineering department within the next five years?”). Use open-ended questions that encourages long answers, not quick responses (i.e., “What will help facilitate this company’s growth during the coming quarter? [which is more likely not to be answered as a “yes” or “no”]). A general guideline is to be prepared with four or five questions that cover a variety of subject areas so you have the luxury of the choosing ones that are most appropriate (growth & profit, competition, job responsibilities, company uniqueness, major markets,continuing educational opportunities, etc.). Two good job related questions to ask are
1) “What is the next position that follows this entry level job?” and
2) “Could you provide me with a brief summary of what happens in a typical day?”
Project confidence but don’t be an egotist. Confidence is nurtured by knowledge, pride, and achievements. Convey these with enthusiasm, but don’t ramble on too long so you sound like you’re bragging. It’s usually best to be brief and get to the bottom line. Remember, if the interviewer is really interested in learning more, he or she will ask you to elaborate! Gum chewing is absolutely prohibited when interviewing and trying to make a positive and lasting impression. If you are concerned about having fresh breath, pop a breath mint in, prior to the interview!
References play a key role about your past. Assure that your references are individuals that you have had contact with recently and that you have had a good working or personal relationship with. A negative reference can be detrimental in your interviewing process. Be sure you know where you are going and have the correct time of your interview. It is a good idea to call ahead to verify directions if you are unsure about the location. It is always important to show up on time for your interview. This is part of the first impression/lasting impression syndrome. Also, bring several copies of your resume with you.