Show potential employers what you bring to the table, even if you don't know exactly what will be asked during the interview. Here are some helpful do's and don'ts from Canada's career guru Barbara Moses.
Your body language, voice, dress, and general deportment communicate volumes about who you are. The interviewer will respond as much to what you say as to how you say it.
• Arrive on time. Bring extra copies of your résumé in case the interviewers don't have them. Create a strong and respectful impression as soon as you arrive in reception. Receptionists are often asked for their impressions of the candidate.
• Shake hands. Make eye contact. Smile.
• Sit straight, but be natural. Avoid irritating mannerisms, such as cracking your knuckles or drumming your fingers. Demonstrate energy and enthusiasm.
• Call the interviewer Mr., Ms., or Mrs. unless told otherwise. Use the interviewer’s name from time to time.
• Be an attentive listener. Nod in agreement. (Resist the temptation to jump in and speak before the interviewer is finished.) Demonstrate active listening by occasionally rephrasing what has been said: “So you’re looking for someone with experience in...”
• Be consistent in all of your messages about yourself, including dress. Determine ahead of time the message you want to leave behind. Coordinate the verbal content of your message with your personal presentation to ensure the messages are consistent with your desired impression.
• Read how the interview is going. Watch for signs of boredom or restlessness. Do not be afraid to ask, “Is this what you were interested in hearing?” or “Does that answer your question?”
• Relax. Think of this as an interesting exchange. If you're nervous, don't worry about it—it will only increase your anxiety and interfere with your ability to understand the questions. Interviewers understand. It is human to be nervous.
• Be afraid to take initiative in the interview or to offer more information than you were asked for.
• Worry too much about trick questions. Most interviewers will be interested in hearing about you rather than playing games. Take their questions at face value.
• Raise the subject of compensation. Let the interviewer bring it up. If you are asked about salary expectations, give a general range such as mid-60s, as opposed to $64,000. Or “I’m looking for a competitive salary but it’s not my major driver.”
• Assume that the interviewer has studied your résumé in detail.
Many companies take advantage of technology to conduct virtual interviews using platforms such as Skype or Google Hangout. While these are great tools to bring employers and potential employees together without traveling long distances, there are a few different things to think about when participating in this kind of interview:
Test your equipment beforehand. Make sure everything is in working order and that you are well lit from the front (beware of bright windows behind you because you will appear as a dark silhouette).
Review your surroundings before you start. The room visible behind you should be neat and quiet—no piles of laundry or barking dogs, please! Eliminate possible disruptions by silencing your phone, removing pets from the room, and ensuring that your kids won’t walk in.
Dress appropriately from head to toe—don’t assume that the interviewer will only see your upper body.
Look at the camera, not at the other person’s face on the monitor. This will make you appear to be looking your interviewer in the eye.
Make sure you adhere to basic interview etiquette, and remember to relax and smile.
Excerpted from What Next? © 2017 Dorling Kindersley Ltd.
Work-life expert Dr. Barbara Moses has helped millions of people discover their career paths and achieve their goals. She is a well-known organizational career-management consultant, best-selling author, and sought-after keynote speaker and media commentator. She has appeared frequently on network radio and TV shows such as Canada AM, The Today Show, and the CBC, and has been a popular columnist for the Globe and Mail. Dr. Moses is president of BBM Human Resource Consultants Inc., and the designer of the acclaimed Career Advisor, an online career-planning tool used by major organizations to counsel more than a million people worldwide. She lives in Toronto.