It can be challenging to find the time for job interviews when you have to balance class schedules, work schedules, homework time and extracurricular activities, as well as a social life, if you are lucky to have the time left for one.
After all the hard work of submitting resumes and crossing fingers, finally being selected to come in for an interview is an awesome accomplishment these days… and one you don’t want to mess up! Make sure that you make the best first impression you can, because you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Here are five tips for job interviews:
1. Make sure you arrive at your interview on time.
This may sound like a common sense no-brainer, but plan ahead when you schedule that interview. Take note of how long it will take you to get from your home, job or class to the interview location, especially if you have to navigate a crowded campus or parking lot. You may want to ask your class professor if you can leave a few minutes early, as this is much more polite than just getting up and walking out.
2. Have the interviewer’s telephone number handy.
Even though you thought you had everything planned out down to the minute, life can be unpredictable with unforseen predicaments that could cause you to run late. If you have the interviewer’s number with you, you can call and let him or her know that you are running late through no fault of your own. This gives the interviewer a chance to either reschedule you for a different time, or take advantage of the waiting time to get a coffee and a doughnut. In either case, your politeness in letting him know will be noted.
3. Dress appropriately, and preferably professionally.
Dress appropriately for the job position no matter what, though professional attire is always best if you have it. Make sure you are fully dressed before you arrive at your destination. It won’t make a very good impression if you change clothes in the restroom after arrival because someone important is bound to see you. That’s just Murphy’s Law. No matter what the latest grunge style may be these days, please, comb your hair. The interview is not a fashion show.
4. Have a copy of your resume, cover letter and transcript(s) with you.
You might be surprised how often an interviewer does not have a copy of your paperwork. Bringing a print-out of your resume will help avoid any embarrassing situations when you can say, “oh, no problem, I have a copy right here”. This has the added advantage of showing the interviewer that you are organized, that you plan ahead, and that you are the kind of person who’s ready for anything. All good qualities in an employee.
5. Make sure your phone is turned off or in silent mode.
Interruptions in an interview should never come from the interviewee’s side of the desk and such rude distractions reflect very poorly on you. Also make sure the phone is in your bag or pocket and out of sight. You don’t need it for anything in an interview.
Following these steps will give the interviewer a very good first impression of you and will make him or her more willing to honestly evaluate your resume and your skills. When you arrive late, rumpled and uncombed, carrying a backpack, with an iPod in your ear, while texting, the decision has already been made… and it’s not going to be a positive one. Make sure that the decision to hire you or not is made AFTER the interview… not before you barely get to say “Hello”.