Interviewing – Mind the Details

July 3, 2012
You’ve selected a professional outfit, you’ve rehearsed the tough questions, and you’ve done your research on the company. You’re completely prepared for your interview.

Or are you?

The old saying “The devil is in the details” definitely holds true when it comes to job interviews. Here are a few items that many people overlook, but that might keep you from landing the job:

The interview begins in the parking lot – I’m sure you put on a big smile when you stand up to shake hands with your interviewer. But you’ve probably been observed long before you get to that point. That jerk you cut off in the parking lot? That was your potential boss’ right-hand man. When you hiked up your dress to check your panty hose in the reflection of the front window? Everyone in the lobby saw it and giggled. And the receptionist you treated rudely, because she’s nobody important? She has a lot more pull with the boss than you think. In fact, I’ve met hiring managers who go out of their way to ask how a candidate behaved when they came in.

Don’t forget your resume – You sent the hiring manager a copy, so he or she should have it printed out and ready, right? Don’t count on it. Hiring managers are busy people, and sometimes they have great difficulty finding time in their day to interview candidates, much less print resumes. Rule of thumb – always have a copy of your resume for each interviewer, and a copy for yourself. If they don’t have one at hand, they’ll be grateful and impressed.

Make sure you know where you’re going – Online maps and GPS make the navigation easier these days, but sometimes they aren’t quite enough. The office may be in an odd location, or have a sign that is different than the company name, or have a difficult parking situation, or a number of other obstacles. Get directions to the office from the company when you schedule the interview. They’ll be able to walk you through any odd details. If possible, make a practice run the day before to work out any kinks.

Watch your mouth – You may know what to say and what not to say, but your words aren’t the only thing that can get you in trouble. Before you go in, spit out the gum, finish your breath mint, and make sure there’s nothing stuck between your teeth. You don’t want your interviewer to be distracted by your gum smacking or the sprig of broccoli stuck in your chompers. Here’s a bonus tip on food and drink: if you’re offered a drink, and you are inclined to accept, go for the water. That soda may look tempting, but trying to talk in between suppressing burps is not impressive.

Always assume you’re under a microscope at every job interview, because you probably are!


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