10 Common-Sense Interview Tips Too Many People Flub

interview tipsWhen we refer to something as being "common sense," we usually mean that it is something we think everyone should know. Often, though, it turns out that what may seem like common sense to one person isn't always so to someone else. For example: Veterinarians spend their days around animals, so they might consider it common knowledge that cats sleep about 18 hours per day; hence the reason your vet seems so amused when you bring Muffin in for a checkup, concerned about her inability to stay awake.

Similarly, because human-resources professionals constantly screen and interview candidates, what may seem like a common-sense interview tip to them might not have crossed a job seeker's mind. Following are "common-sense" interview tips straight from the experts' mouths.


1. Be presentable

Wear a suit that fits, and don't cut corners when it comes to ironing or dry-cleaning, says Monique Honaman, CEO of leadership development company ISHR Group. "I knew one guy who was in such a rush the day of his interview that he only ironed the front of his shirt. Later, during the course of his interview day, it was hot and he was encouraged to remove his jacket and get more comfortable and it was clear that he had cut corners and only ironed the front! He was very embarrassed," Honaman says.

Also, while you should always wear deodorant, try to avoid perfumes and colognes. You never know who will be allergic or just downright averse to your scent. "A hiring manager once told me a story of how he didn't select an incredibly well-qualified candidate for a role because she wore the same perfume as his ex-wife," says Danielle Beauparlant Moser, a career coach with Blended Learning Team. "He said she walked in the room and his only thought was how to get her out of his office as quickly as possible."


2. Don't be too early

While you should always arrive at your interview a few minutes early, try not get there more than 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time, advises Ben Yeargin, a manager at Spherion Staffing. "[Arriving early] will lead to anxiety on the candidate's part because they have to sit and wait for an extended period of time, and it will lead to frustration on the hiring manager's part because they will feel rushed with the project that they are trying to accomplish prior to the interview," he says.

If you find yourself getting to the building earlier than you thought, wait in your car or take a walk around the block until it's closer to your interview time.


3. Know whom you're meeting with

"Know the name of the interviewer so that you can ask for that person at the receptionist's desk," advises Cheryl Palmer, president of Call to Career, an executive coaching firm. "It's embarrassing when the receptionist asks, 'Who are you here to see?' and you can't remember. Have this information either in your head or write yourself a note that you refer to prior to arriving in the waiting area," Palmer says.


4. Remember: You are being interviewed as soon as you walk in the door

"Most people would never think of the receptionist as being an interviewer, but it's true," Palmer says. "It's fairly common that the receptionist will report back to the hiring manager how candidates behaved in the waiting area. Don't be remembered as the one who ate all the candy out of the candy dish or spoke disrespectfully to the receptionist."


5. Make proper eye contact

"One of the most obvious mistakes interviewees make is with eye contact, and it costs a lot of people a lot of jobs," says Barry Maher, who owns a California-based career coaching firm. "Eye contact is simple," he says. "Any given eye contact should last about five seconds at a time. And if there's one interviewer, make eye contact with him or her about 40 to 60 percent of the time. More than 60 percent is intimidating. Less than 40 percent comes off as shifty and perhaps insincere, even dishonest."


6. Eat before the interview, not during it

Duh? Not according to Yeargin, who has experienced interview-snacking firsthand. "I was in an interview, no more than 10 minutes into it, and I got called out for two minutes to answer a question," he says. "When I returned, the applicant was eating some sort of granola or other snack bar. Needless to say that individual did not get a job with my company." No matter what the candy bar ads have to say, your hunger can wait.


7. Make sure that what you do eat beforehand does not involve onion or garlic

You want to be remembered for your professionalism and outstanding skills, not for what you ate for lunch. Advises Palmer, "Don't eat anything that has a strong odor before the interview."


8. Don't look at your watch

Block at least two hours of time for the interview, says Cindy Loftus, co-owner of Loftus O'Meara Staffing. Loftus also advises keeping your schedule relatively clear on the day of the interview, to avoid feeling the need to rush. "Don't create distractions to your interview," she says.


9. Tell the interviewer you are interested

Don't forget to tell the recruiter you want the job. "If you truly feel the position is a fit, let them know and tell them you would like to get to the next round of interviews, and be prepared to tell them why," Loftus says.


10. Get business cards from your interviewers -- and use them

"Ask for the business cards of all of the interviewers that you have met and make sure you take a second or two to read their card," Loftus says. This will not only be helpful in remembering each person you met with, but will make it easier to send proper thank-you notes and follow up e-mails, which should always be done within 24 hours of leaving the interview.

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ROY

AFTER SUBMITTING THE APPLICATIONS WHAT DOES ONE NEED TO QUALIFY FOR AN INTERVIEW? MY NEPHEW HAS SUBMITTED NUMEROUS APPLICATIONS AND NO ONE HAS YET TO CALL HIM FOR AN INTERVIEW. I THINK JOB APPLICATIONS ARE JUST USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF STATISTICS AND THEY ALREADY KNOW WHO THEY WANT TO INTERVIEW AND WHO THEY WANT TO HIRE. THESE PEOPLE ADVERTISING JOBS SHOULD HAVE TO PAY MILEAGE AND MONETARY COMPENSATION AFTER APPLICANTS HAVE BEEN INTERVIEWED ONCE AND TOLD TO REPORT FOR A 2ND OR MORE INTERVIEWS. MOST LIKELY THEY WON'T GET THE JOB ANYWAY. ALSO FOR THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY PAY WHY ARE THEY STILL OFFERING JOBS FOR THE SAME POSITIONS MONTH AFTER MONTH?

September 24 2010 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
turner

The number #10 is not needed. Thank you notes are not necessary as before you leave tell the person you want the job and then have them schedule the second interview. Why patronize a person who feels you need to thank them for doing their job. If it was not for you that person would not have a job. How come business survived all these years without this silly act of a thank you note. If they can not remember who you are why do they still have a job duh?
Also when you meet with the interviewer most are not cognizant of your resume and then they have to read it. If they are so backed up with people to interview hire somebody to assist them and move forward.
Companies should be the ones to that the interviewee because they took the time to research their company and spend the time going and interviewing. When a company does not thank the interviewee that shows the company in unprofessional and that is a major PR error. Lets make the hiring process more professional and less like a high school popularity contest.

August 03 2010 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dgarye

All this shows is how arrogant and conceited personal people are! To actually not hire an extremely qualified candidate because of their perfume speaks more to the juvenile attitude of the interviewer than the interviewee. However, as long as jobs are in demand - those who need them will be at the willy-nilly mercy of those who have them. Interview prep is a multi-million dollar business and as long as we are willing to be 'canned' into a stereotypical 'type' we are doomed to be the fodder for those businesses trying to tell you that you are wrong - not the employer.

August 02 2010 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
OneLadyinSC

Remember the hint about being early, and not just for your own comfort. When I was conducting interviews, having someone arrive before I got to work (and I was usually 45 minutes to an hour early) was infuriating. I wasn't HR, I was the manager of the department and scheduled interviews late enough for me to get my staff assignments together before they arrived. It was infuriating to have the entire department wait until I could break away from the applicant. After all, if we all had lots of time to waste, I wouldn't have needed an applicant in the first place, so watch yourself,

August 02 2010 at 8:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hawaii

I've been on both sides and was in HR when it was about the people and service. Now I notice HR people are snotty and arrogant. It has really changed and more often then not, I find them very distasteful to deal with. It's like they can be rude because they know an applicant is not going to bitch to anyone, not if they want to get the job. Especially in this economic state. Though some of the points put forth in this article is valid, in hard to fill positions a recruiter is not going to chuck an application out the door because of behavior, or items on a resume. In those tough to fill jobs with not many applicants, a lot of leeway is given.

August 02 2010 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John C

My oh my. Are we so far gone as a society that we now have to quantify how much eye contact we should make proportionate to the duration of time we are in a room with someone? Some of the other pointers are good, but the fact that there are people out there who offer this kind of input truly defines that valid, natural social skills are a lost art.

August 02 2010 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
glenner

BUNK ! First of all, the interviewer usually doesn't have a clue, nor do they have what experience and level of intelligence the job requires. They're only "bookworm academic know-it-alls" with very little common sense. Unfortunately, I've experienced 3 corporations ( manufacturing / engineering ) that went out of business ( to no fault of my own ), and therefore was forced to re-enter the "job search arena". It is the most ridiculous exercise anyone with any abilities ever has to endure. I despise Human Resource Managers. They are arrogant people who really think that the company wouldn't survive without them, and are an absolute waste of company's money and time. Don't waste my, and other people's time and money interviewing, and re-interviewing, and re-interviewing several people for one position, then hire the wrong person anyway because you don't have a clue. GET IT ? ! ? ! Then you have these "experts" that constantly write these stupid articles with all these bogus recommendations to use during interviews, writing resumes, etc. BUNK ! !

August 02 2010 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to glenner's comment
don

I had a guy that brought a beer to an interview and sipped on it. Another one that brought a beer was considerate enough to leave it by our front door. My office looked out on the door so I saw him stash his beer in the bushes for after the interview. Only in south florida..

August 02 2010 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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