4 Tips for Bringing Your Most Professional Self to an Interview
I spent a few days this week doing staffing for a new business. Some interviews were scheduled, some were open call style. I don’t know if I’m getting cynically critical or appropriately more selective, but I am finding that the more staffing I’m involved in, the narrower my window for the acceptability of certain behaviors becomes. I was shocked by the number of applicants who came in looking disheveled, without a resume in hand, or unclear about what position they were even showing up for.
Take these tips to shine even brighter in your next interview.
Look Your Best
It doesn’t matter what kind of position you’re applying for, clean up. While an interviewer cannot comment on your appearance, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Show the person you’re meeting and the position you’re looking to obtain some respect. You don’t have to put on makeup if that’s not your thing, but don’t look like you rolled out of bed and through the door of the office as an afterthought.
Curb the ‘Tude
While culture fit is becoming an increasingly important part of the interview process, this still means you need to bring some respect to the table. The way you sit, talk, and exude certain aspects of your personality can make or break an interview. This doesn’t mean you have to become stodgy and straight-laced – in fact, it is critically important to let your true self shine thought – but be courteous and speak professionally. The way you behave in an interview shows someone how they can expect you to interact with customers and coworkers. A bad or pompous attitude won’t get you anywhere.
At a minimum, bring several hard copies of your resume. It doesn’t hurt to also bring a copy of your cover letter, your portfolio, and any other supporting documents that might be relevant to the position. Don’t assume that because you emailed your resume it got printed. If you have time, research the company and the requirements for similar positions. Have questions ready. The level of your preparedness for the interview tells the person assessing you a lot about how you are as a person.
Don’t accept a callback if you decide a company or position isn’t right for you. An interviewer might be disappointed to lose a shot at your talents, but will appreciate you not wasting their time. Your disinterest in a position might not show in those interviews, but if you take a job you don’t really want, it will be noticed in your work ethic right away.