While you can spend countless hours preparing polished answers, learning how to make great eye contact, and putting together a stellar outfit, one part of the interview that you don’t have total control over is the human element. For better or for worse, much of what determines whether or not you’ll get the job is how you connected with your interviewer. If that person doesn’t like you on a personal level, you probably won’t land the position, even if you’re extremely qualified. That said, here are a few things you can do to make a great first impression:
Use Humor Sparingly
There’s no question that a little bit of humor can ease the tension and make the entire interview seem more comfortable. But if your interviewer shoots you down with a stern look or a reprimand, your attempt at joking around can turn into a total buzz kill. The best policy is to stick to something lighthearted that won’t offend someone on any level – after all, you probably know nothing about the person sitting across from you, and therefore you have no way of knowing what types of remarks they would consider to be in bad taste.
This one is common sense. It’s important that you don’t sweat or smell in an interview, otherwise the interviewer will probably rush you out the door in order that they can breathe again. Make sure to wear something that isn’t too stifling and try not to offer up a wet handshake. And while it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t smell bad, on the flip side, you don’t want to drench yourself in a perfume that the interviewer will choke on. Use perfumes and bath products sparingly, since, once again, you don’t know if your interviewer is allergic to – or can’t stand – a certain odor.
Don’t Be Too Demanding
It’s important to inform the interviewer of your job needs during the conversation, and this should come up naturally. However, don’t get too carried away with making demands about your hours, salary, or office environment. If you start laying down the law about needing a completely silent work area or a desk next to the window, the interviewer may simply move on to the next candidate who is much easier to handle.
Don’t Be Overly Enthusiastic
It’s important to show excitement for the job in an interview, but if you go through the entire conversation with a giant smile plastered on your face, you’ll come across as too intense, insincere, or downright weird. You’re interviewing for a job, so try to be serious too.
Don’t Go Overboard with Questions
At some point during the interview, you’ll have the chance to ask a few of your own questions. It’s crucial to have at least one or two of them ready, and these should be intelligent and relevant. However, keep in mind that if you start barraging the interviewer with queries – especially if you’re simply asking these to prolong face time – you’ll probably get on the other person’s nerves. Asking too many questions can hurt you just as much as not asking any.
Knowing how to behave in an interview is a tricky matter – you want to go in and out with a bang, so that you stand out amidst the other candidates; but you don’t want to go so over-the-top that you offend or annoy. Probably the best thing to keep in mind is that a job interview is about selling yourself to a company in a professional manner, and that the time to express your individuality and let down your guard will come later.
The Doostang Team