At Zanes we do a lot of interviewing especially as we grow! And because of this we have been able to pinpoint A LOT of the dos and don’ts of interview etiquette both in person, on the phone or over the webcam (i.e. Skype).
Many of you can name the obvious like always, always, ALWAYS be early (to be on time) and dress professionally for the interview (unless it’s over the phone). It doesn’t matter if you are apply to flip burgers, show up 100% and show up clean cut and proper.
Other tips like always bring a few copies of your resume, make eye contact with your interviewer and never bad mouth any people you’ve worked with in the past (especially supervisors), may be less obvious but are extremely important to a basic, simple yet successful interview.
We found the following interview tips below to be helpful across the board whether you are interview in person, over the phone (which people often treat with more lax than they should) or on a webcam:
- Location, Location! (specifically for phone and webcam interviews): Make sure you are in an area with good cell phone reception (or, ideally, use a landline). In the case of the computer camera, make sure you are using reliable internet. Use a private space where it’s quiet enough to hear and calm enough to give the interview your full attention. In other words, skip the coffee shop but remember to keep the dog outside so he doesn’t speak his peace during your moment to shine!
- Do Your Research: Take time to familiarize yourself with the company–check out their website, Facebook, take a look at their blog, and get a general sense for what they’re all about (pro tip: if you can mention a specific recent company blog post and explain why you liked it, you’ll get major bonus points for doing your homework). In fact, if your research brings up questions, this is the time to ask them and be engaged and present with the work you could be doing.
- Stalk Your Interviewer (not your Ex) on LinkedIn…and on Facebook: Yes you have permission to be on social media! Add your interviewer on LinkedIn and see what they’ve been up to. What school did they go to? What were their past jobs? Do you have any similar interests in common? You never know, you may find a great point of connection.
- Prepare Notes (and keep them handy): One great thing about phone interviews is that you can create a little cheat sheet for yourself, just like that coveted 3×5 index card you were allowed to bring to your high school final exams. Go ahead and jot down questions, and outline answers to common questions or other info you want to make sure you mention.
- Practice Your Answers: Consider your answers to common interview questions beforehand (your best/worst traits, occasions in which you faced a challenge, where you see yourself in five years, etc.) The best way to answer questions is with specific examples of why ‘you’re a great leader’ or ‘why multi-tasking proves to be a challenge.’ Remember that if you do bring up weaknesses or challenges, be sure to indicate how you are working to improve those skill sets and how you may be able to expand on them in that particular position.
- Dress the Part: The image we project of ourselves doesn’t just communicate through appearance–it shows in our mannerisms, speech, and other subtle cues. Now we know that dressing up for a phone interview may sound silly, but sometimes the right clothing will put you in the right mindset. At the very least, change out of those pajamas. Please, that Ninja Turtles T-shirt is starting to smell weird!
- Slow Down and THINK. Remember, this isn’t a race to answer the questions in record time. Although we may not realize it but it’s okay to take a pause and ponder the question being asked. You don’t have to fire off a question right away. In fact pausing and reflecting on the question shows your presentness and thoughtfulness to the question garnering a more authentic answer. This is an interview, not russian roulette!
- SMILE and Show Enthusiasm!! Ask about different aspects of the job and express genuine interest and excitement about the opportunity. Don’t be afraid to dig for more details about the position–we all know how vague and horrifically bland job postings can be, often packed with tech garble that’s difficult to decipher. You need to get a real sense of the job to know if it’s a good fit for you.
- Next Steps? As the interview wraps up, make sure to ask what the expected next steps are regarding the position and when you can expect to hear about a follow-up. Not only is this valuable info to have, it also reinforces that you’re truly interested.
- Follow-up with a ‘Thank You’ Note. Always shoot your interviewers a quick thank you note (likely in email form). Sending a word of thanks simply shows that you appreciate the interviewer taking time out of her busy day to chat with you. Include your contact information and don’t be afraid to follow up in a weeks time (IF no timeline was indicated). If the interviewer said, he’d get back to you in two weeks… Wait the two weeks to reach out for an update.
Did we miss something on our etiquette list? Help us out and add your thoughts below!
We’d love to hear from you