One of the top reasons for not getting hired is unpreparedness. When a company brings in a job candidate for an interview, they want to see that you have done your research on the company, and that you're prepared for what you'll be asked. If you truly want the job, doing the legwork to prepare for the interview should be no problem. Use these tips and tricks to help you maximize your chances of getting the job.
1. Bring a list of references and contacts. Often during a job interview, you'll be asked to fill out an official application, and you'll likely need to list out your references and phone numbers or addresses of previous employers. Rather than waste time digging in your phone to find the information you need, come prepared. Make a list of job references and personal contacts, along with their emails and phone numbers.
2. Look at LinkedIn. You can learn a lot from LinkedIn, not only about a company, but also about the person who's interviewing you. If you know ahead of time who your interviewer will be, look her up on LinkedIn. Knowing a little bit about her can help you guide the conversation and show you did your homework.
3. Come with questions. Many job seekers get paralyzed when they're asked if they have any questions. It's certainly not a requirement, but coming prepared with a few well thought-out questions about either the company or the position can make you seem inquisitive and interested.
4. Follow the company's news. If the human resources manager mentions the company's recent acquisition and you stare at her blankly, she might consider you less deserving of the role than another candidate who has read up on the (major) company news and can speak on it intelligently. It pays to read the company's News tab, and certainly makes you look smarter.
5. Follow your interviewer on Twitter before the interview. Not only will this give you another opportunity to connect with her, but you might also learn something useful for your interview. And you can flatter her by mentioning something she tweeted. Everyone likes it when people pay attention to what we say.
6. Bring extra copies of your resume. Sometimes you'll be interviewed by more than one person, so having extra copies can ensure everyone sees your skills firsthand.
7. Get directions in advance. Especially if you have to navigate the inside of a parking deck and multi-story office building. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable time trying to find parking and then locate the floor your interview is on, only to arrive late and out of breath.
8. Bring money for parking. Speaking of that parking situation: you never know when you'll need quarters for the meter or bills for paid parking. Stressing out because you don't have cash on you can affect your interview negatively.
9. Be nice to everyone you meet. From the parking attendant to the secretary, you never know who might have influence with the hiring manager. The last thing you want getting back to her is how you snapped at the receptionist upon arriving for your interview.
10. Follow up by email and snail mail. We're so accustomed to instant communications, so either the same day or the day after your interview, send a quick email to your interviewer thanking her. This is also your opportunity to ask any questions you didn't ask in the interview. You should also consider sending a snail mail thank-you card. These are rare these days, so they are always positively received.
You'll likely be going on several job interviews in your lifetime, so learn from your mistakes and find what works best for you.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.