Looking for a new position can be a daunting task. Does my resume look good? Did I do a good job on the interview? Will I negotiate the right salary? Often, we are so focused on getting the job that we don’t really think about the “right fit.” Here are some tips to nail the interview—and also how to make sure you’re making the right decision.
The obvious: It’s pretty standard, but make sure to arrive a few minutes early, dressed for the part, with several copies of your resume and a readiness to follow up with a thank you note afterwards.
Make a connection: When interviewing, it’s important to make a connection with the interviewer. Show emotion—I don’t mean start crying or show anger, but rather be human and share things about your life outside of work. Maybe you and the interviewer share the same interest and can spark some great conversation. Often candidates can appear like a robot, and “yes m’am” or “no m’am” you to death. So show some personality and make them like you.
Observe employees: It’s so important to pay attention to the employees, which can start from the moment you arrive. I remember once sitting in the lobby, waiting for an interview and everyone seemed afraid to laugh; even the receptionist looked like she was putting on a fake smile. I picked up on several cues from the employees and realized this would not be a company I wanted to work for.
What’s next?: We all want to be offered the position, but have you determined this is a company you want to work for? If so, follow-up with a thank you note within the first 24 hours. I also recommend sending a follow-up in two weeks if you haven’t heard anything back.
If you determined that the company isn’t a good fit for you, it’s time to cut ties, thank them for the interview, and let them know that this isn’t the right opportunity. Don’t be afraid to tell them—it’s worse to go through the entire process and waste your time and theirs for something you’re not interested in.
The bottom line is don’t just take a position because you’re afraid to turn it down or because you just need a job. We spend the majority of our time at work, so it’s important to make sure it’s a good fit for you personally and professionally.