The resume gets you in the door but it's the interview that gets you the job. For the inexperienced job hunter an interview can be intimidating but it's really not so bad as long as you follow the simple guidelines listed here.
Time Required: As long as it takes.
- Show up 10-15 minutes early for your scheduled interview. Do not show up too early as this may be an annoyance to an interviewer especially if waiting room space is limited. Never show up late.
- Dress neatly, conservatively but also casually. Avoid trendy clothes, jeans, or personal identity statements (like a Mohawk or political t-shirt) unless they are fitting to the job, for example; trendy is OK if the job is in a trendy clothing store. For more see jobsearch.about.com
- Remove piercings that may be objectionable and obvious to an employer such as a facial piercing and keep tattoos covered. It is unlawful in most regions for employers to deny you a job because of these things but it can still happen.
- Know your resume inside out. Nothing looks worse than an applicant who keeps reading off of their resume. If there is an application form take your answers from your resume so you wont stumble when asked about your qualifications.
- Shake hands and remain standing until offered a seat. Clearly and confidently state your name and thank the interviewer for seeing you.
- Avoid giving speeches when asked questions. Keep your answers concise and to the point. If you dont understand a question or you didnt hear it do not be afraid to ask to have it rephrased or repeated.
- Whenever possible prepare your answers in advance. There are some standard interview questions you can expect. Examples of these types of questions can be found at jobsearch.about.com
- Know a bit about the company you are applying to work at and details about the job you are after. Answer any questions you are asked with references to these things whenever relevant.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions of your own. In fact, many interviewers consider the do you have any questions part of an interview to be very telling about a potential employees work ethic and job expectations.
- If it hasnt been stated it is OK to ask about the rate of pay, bonus structure and advancement opportunities within the company. If the company is very large, like McDonalds, ask about any employee scholarship programs that may be available.
- Never lie about your availability. If you can only work weekends, say so. If you cant work any later than 9pm make it clear right away.
- Ask when the interviewer expects to have made a decision and if they will be contacting all applicants or only those who are hired. Make a point of following up via telephone 2 business days after your interview.
- Before leaving thank the interviewer again and shake hands. Smile and make eye contact as you leave.