Thoughts on improving your chances at interviews. Interviewers, add your tips! Interviewees, good luck!
Background reseach. Know the company your going to work for. Establish your job role before going in.
Don't be afraid to look in the interviewers eyes, be confident. We don't think you are challenging us by looking in our eyes.
Don't have a pen or anything in your hands that you might fiddle with.
We are not robots, we are human. Be yourself.
Have a pen and a notebook and take notes! When you ask questions, write down the answers you receive.
Get some sleep the night before.
Don't chew the chewing gum in the interview!
Have a relaxed posture. Not slouched in your chair, sit straight, hands in front but relax your shoulders.
Have questions. If there is nothing you need to know, make something up. Anything at all. When would I start? How much will it pay? What are the shifts? Whats my career options? Shows your interested.
Dress Smart, wash throughly. Shave (men and women(yes women!))
Cut your nails and clean your ears to the whole shower/shave/groom yourself thing.
Don't have a pen or anything in your hands that you might fiddle with.
People make a career out of body language, especially what you do with your hands. Keep your hands away from your face.
Put a paper towel or a handkerchief in your right hand pocket of your pants. Leave it in your pocket but use it to keep your hand dry before shaking the interviewer(s) hand(s).
Do NOT douse yourself in cologne or perfume. This applies all the time, not just for interviews. If YOU can still smell it 15 minutes after you put it on, you used too much.
Don't be afraid to talk yourself up a little.
Make the inerview like a conversation.
Research the company and know your facts.
Be interested in the company.
Don't stare at the interviewers cleavage.
You need to be of the mindset that an interview is not one-way; YOU are also interviewing them. You don't need them, you are looking at plenty of places and they are going to have to impress YOU for you to take their offer.
Rule of thumb: your interview of them should be at least as long as their interview of you. How? ... QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS!
You should strive to make the interviewer feel the pressure from an especially challenging/researched question of yours.
Arrive early and just chilling in your car for a bit. Don't use that time to cram. Just breathe, relax, close your eyes, maybe listen to some music. Then go in there all relaxed and ready to act like someone they'd want to have as a colleague.
In reality, you are supposed to dress one level above whatever the company wears.
If you don't know the answer to a question, just say "I don't know".
It's a shallow world. If there's anything you can do to look more attractive (in a tasteful way, do it). If your hygiene is lacking in any way, someone will notice.
A lot of CEOs have videos up on youtube. Find every one and watch them. Do not work for a company whose CEO you do not believe in. If you find one that you do believe in, restate to him the part of the message that you agree with most. Good CEOs have a strong vision and they're trying to hire people who will make that vision a reality.
"Do your research" does not mean reading the company web site. If you're a tech guy, read the source of their sites and their client sites. If you're sales, call up posing as a potential customer. Stalk them like that hot girl from high school.
Bring a written list of questions. At LEAST 20. If you're not good at writing good questions find or pay a smart person to do it for you.
Bring a copy of your resume in your hand, and three more in your briefcase.
Stunts absolutely work. They will not help unqualified candidates beat qualified ones, but they will help qualified candidates beat other qualified candidates. People send food to our office, dress up in chicken suits, singing telegrams, and they all get interviews.
If you're having trouble getting your foot in the door, throw a suit on, grab your resume. Walk into the office, ask for the office of a manager (by name, NOT by title) and hand-deliver your resume. I've seen it work.
People love to talk. Give them plenty of opportunities.
Don't dawdle on meet-and-greet interviews. Set a time limit beforehand and bail before they get sick of talking to you.
Visit the company website and in general Google the company you're going in to talk to. Don't offer any of the info up unless you're asked about it, but have it on hand. No one had done this and the job was for web. We had to instruct them to do so before the second round which I found ridiculous.
Have a one page resume and a single, permanent link to the same document online. If possible, print that link on a business card with your name and email and have those with you. Nothing fancy - Avery template B Cards will do. that way if anyone asks for a copy of your resume and you don't have an extra you can hand them the card. Also, have the cards everywhere because you never know when you're going to run into a job opportunity.
I am a former smoker, but the other poster is right, don't reek of butts.
Be clear that you are interviewing the interviewer about the job. Have questions prepared. It alters the power balance and puts you at an advantage. The kid we hired interrupted me three times while I was describing the job because he was visibly excited to add input. This might not work on everyone, but being enthusiastic and personable are a must.
Be confident but not cocky. Be incredibly helpful and polite. Do NOT ever act as though you know more about anything than the interviewer, but don't be afraid to show that you do if you can say something concrete.
In general, avoid generalities and abstractions where a real-life example is possible. It is infinitely better to tell a story about a past work experience in which you worked hard than to say that you are a hard worker.
Understand that the interviewer is probably as bored as you are of the interview process. The more you can make it a unique interaction the better off you're going to be. Anything that prints you positively in their mind so that they remember you after 8 hours of handshakes and resumes is a plus. Something as simple as offering a nice pen when they can't find one might make the difference. It's stupid, but one focuses on the details when reviewing candidates, so the more you provide the better off you'll be.
If you know what kind of clothing they wear at the place, dress similarly. For instance, I know everyone at the grocery store has green shirts and black aprons, or that a particular call center has professional-casual attire. If I were interviewing at the grocery store, I would make it a point to wear a similar color green shirt with black pants or for the call center I would wear professional-casual clothing. If the interviewer sees you in clothing you would be wearing if you already worked there, it helps them to imagine you already working there.
Talk to them as if you already work there. Be comfortable. The interview is to see how well you fit in, not how qualified you are - that's what your resume is for (also, bring a copy of your resume even if you know they already have one). Read your interviewer. Some are very happy and you can tell a joke or two. Some are very by-the-book and you have to reciprocate their seriousness. Either way, you have to show interest and genuine excitement, not about getting the job, but about what you can do when you already have the job.
If you're expecting questions like 'what's your greatest weakness, what's your greatest strength, name a time when you were working in a group and you took leadership of that group, name a time when blablabla', do NOT pre-think your answers for specific questions! It is usually noticeable when the answer is made-up or pre-thought-out. Instead, think of some good examples of experiences you've had that could apply to more than one question. Keep a bank of these experiences in your head. When a question is asked, sift through those memories to pick the right one. This will give the impression you are thinking of something on the spot. You do not have to be immediate with your answers. When you tell the experience, tailor it to their question. This forces you to tell an unrehearsed story which is, therefore, a genuine answer. This shows.
Read as much as you can about the company on their website.
They are going to ask you why you want the job/are good for the job, at least ponder the answer before going in.
They are going to ask if you have any further questions, this is a great opportunity for you to show off that you read about the company and are concerned, so think up some questions before going in. You can even plant a fake question.
Just remember one thing: You don't need them, they need you. Also, your good enough, your smart enough, and gosh darn-it, people like you.
Be prompt. If the job asks for certain technical skills that you are not strong in, explicitly tell them upfront (during the interview).
Follow up. If you put in an application, be sure to call and talk to the person taking the applications.
Look whoever is interviewing you in the eye. I can't stress how important this is. Now, don't stare at them intently - there is a difference.
Don't smoke a cigarette right before you go in. We notice you smell of smoke. At the very least spray yourself, have a chewing gum