Ohio University Office of Career Services

Interview Etiquette: Tips to Successfully Navigate a Job Interview by Christy R

Employer interviewing job candidate

Among the rising tide of job-seekers, serious candidates are looking for the golden key that will set them apart from the crowd. As impressive as your résumé might be, often times it is the interview, the first instance of personal contact, that spells success or defeat for the prospective employee. First impressions stick. This is one of the clichés that unfortunately comes true, and with so much at stake, any responsible job candidate would do well to prepare thoroughly. Remember that interviews are about open, sincere communication that will present your skills to their fullest potential.

A quick internet search reveals dozens of mini-articles and tip lists on the topic of job interviews. Here are a few of the suggestions I found the most helpful:

1. Research the company. This should always be the first step. What does the company do? What will your position be? What skills will you bring to the company and why are you qualified? Practicing with a mock interview can help immensely. Make a list of common questions and prepare answers.

2. Dress neatly. Your personal appearance suggests what your work practices are like.

3. Bring multiple copies of your résumé. This should be obvious as it is one of the first things prospective employers will ask for. It’s also helpful to have a copy for yourself to refer to during the interview.

4. Be on time—meaning 5 to 10 minutes early. Tardiness sets a terrible precedent.

5. Watch your body language. Relax. Smile. Be as natural and confident as possible. Be sure to make direct eye contact with your interviewer and greet he or she with a firm handshake. Once seated, lean forward to convey interest and take care if you’re one of those people who likes to talk with your hands—wild gestures imply lack of control.

6. Answer questions directly. Clear communication is key. It’s OK to ask the interviewer to restate a question if you don’t understand it the first time around. It’s also perfectly fine to take a minute to formulate a clear answer. Your interviewer won’t appreciate it if you blurt out a jumble of disconnected thoughts just to fill the silence.

Paying attention to these details is the first step to a successful interview. This is your chance to showcase your value to the company, and a little interview savvy goes a long way.

Note: For information about the Mock Interview Day being hosted by OU Career Services on Monday, October 4, 2010, visit us at www.ohio.edu/careers


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[…] an interview. For more tips on conducting a traditional interview, view our previous post, “Interview Etiquette: Tips To Successfully Navigate a Job Interview.” Also consider participating in our Mock Interview program where you can practice both […]

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