When you arrive at a company for an interview, it is not just the formal interview behind closed doors that matters. Every employee you interact with from the moment you arrive until you leave is capturing impressions of you and evaluating you for fit with their organization. Be prepared to make every impression count.
- Arrive Early – Always arrive a few minute early. If you are unsure of where you are going, do a dry run in advance. Allow time for traffic or parking issues. Better to wait in the coffee shop on the corner for a few minutes than to arrive late. Use the few minutes in the lobby after checking in to compose yourself and prepare.
- Dress Appropriately – Demonstrate your professionalism by being appropriate dressed. Even if the company tends to be more casual, demonstrate that you are taking this seriously by arriving in a business suit. Professional attire sends a message and makes an impression before you even speak your first words. Avoid short skirts, flashy ties, too much jewelry etc. Do provide provide the interviewer any distraction.
- Firm Handshake – Web to web and a couple pumps demonstrate confidence and professionalism. This is no time for a limp fish handshake and a bone crusher can be a turnoff as well.
- Eye Contact – Make eye contact with anyone you are speaking to regardless of their position. Demonstrate your interest and respect. Wandering eyes make interviewers nervous and can demonstrate a lack of interest and confidence.
- Be Prepared – Do your research. Know about the company, their products and services, their industry and the competition. Have insightful questions prepared.
- Take Notes – Ask if you may take notes. It demonstrates interest and prepared you for follow-up. It also enables you to have your questions available.
- Be Professional, Respectful and Polite – In every interaction you should demonstrate your professionalism, respect and good manners. The administrative assistant who escorts you to the manager’s office may be asked for feedback. The receptionist at the front desk may provide input into the hiring decision. Treat everyone, regardless of their position, with dignity and respect.
- Always Say Thank You – Be sure to thank all those who help you during the course of your visit. Sincerely thank the interviewer and demonstrate your interest in the position before you leave. To truly differentiate yourself from the competition, send a handwritten, customized thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.
Put your best foot forward in every interaction to increase your success in the process.