As I’ve mentioned in many of my previous blogs, I interview all day, everyday and I get the chance to meet some pretty amazing people. For example, one morning I interviewed a doctor from Costa Rica who moved to Canada to raise a family and a food scientist from South Korea who moved to Canada to work as a nurse. Needless to say, I am often ‘wowed’ with the stories I hear and the people I meet. I do, however, often meet candidates who couldn’t care less about the impression that they leave at the office. This topic has been something that has been on my mind for the past few weeks, and I’m excited to share with you today a few of the basics of proper interview etiquette.
Know the Company
I often meet with candidates who have no idea what Plan A is about or what we do. By the time you come in for an interview, you should know the basics about the company: What do they do? What position are you applying for? When you apply to a company that you know nothing about, it makes you look desperate and unsure of what you really want. It’s quite easy to research the company online and review their website to find out information about them. Even take down notes if it makes it easier!
Focus on Your First Impression
It makes me excited when I see candidates come into the office with enthusiasm, a smile and a big, warm “Hello!” This is the only “first impression” that they get to make and if they nail it, they’re up in my books. When candidates make it obvious that they are dealing with some sort of conflict at home or at work and they bring that grey cloud with them to the interview, it makes me think, “Would I want to work with this person? Would I really want them representing this company?”
Always consider the way that you are representing yourself in an interview: Are your clothes smelly and wrinkled? Is your hair a mess? Although we often reference the statement “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, the ‘cover’ matters when it comes to an interview. Make yourself presentable and professional; no one wants to hire someone to represent their company who looks unkempt and disorganized. Remember! Being overdressed is better than being underdressed, so do some research on the company to learn about their expectations prior to walking through the door.
Show Genuine Interest
If you come into an interview and show zero interest in the position or the interview itself, it doesn’t leave a very good first impression. Using things like eye contact and proper body language help create the feeling that you are genuinely interested in the position and what it has to offer.
One thing to remember is that there may be times that you go in for an interview and by the end you realize that the position just isn’t for you – and that’s okay! But while you’re there, do not make the interviewer feel as though you completely wasted their time.
Make Eye Contact
There is nothing worse than interviewing someone who seems annoyed by your presence. I have interviewed a fair number of people who have avoided making eye contact with me during the interview and it makes me feel as though I am inconveniencing them by asking questions. They often look out the window or focus on the bookshelf next to my chair, but when I am asking questions, I expect them to be answered. When your interviewer is asking you a question, seem intrigued and interested in what they are asking. Even if you aren’t, fake it ‘til you make it!