The Wilbanks Consulting Group recently presented a whole workshop on Interview Illustrations: Highlight Your Value to the Texas Medical Center Community. While a simple blog post can’t begin to cover all those valuable nuggets of information, we can share some basic Dos and Don’ts for nailing that crucial interview.
1. Bring Your Energy
Employers want to hire self-motivated, focused employees with energy and drive. To ensure that you demonstrate these qualities in your interview, get plenty of rest in the 2-3 nights ahead of an interview. Sleep debt builds up over time, so sleeping well for several nights in advance can help you overcome an unexpectedly sleepless night before the interview.
Once you are in the interview, show an appropriate level of enthusiasm—enough to convey your excitement for the position and the company, but not so much that you intimidate your interviewer. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!
2. Arrive on Time
We recommend that you plan to arrive 30 minutes early—well in advance to allow time for traffic, parking, getting lost in the building, or any other issue that might cause you to be late. If you take public transportation, you may want to plan to arrive even earlier.
One benefit of planning to arrive early is that you won’t be late in case Murphy’s Law decides to interrupt as you make your way to the interview. However, if you arrive with ample time and no issues, being early allows you time to get in the right mindset and focus on your interview.
3. Dress Appropriately
It’s always a good idea to dress to impress, though you will want to choose your attire appropriately based on the company’s culture. Well-groomed business casual may be just as good or better than a traditional “interview suit.” Err on the side of overdressing, because being underdressed will draw negative attention and distract from your value.
Your whole appearance will be taken in during the interview, so ensure that your clothes, shoes, and hair are in impeccable shape. Don’t wear something that shows signs of use or abuse (e.g., make sure your shoes are polished and not terribly scuffed up). Use an iron to press out any wrinkles or pay the dry cleaners if you are not confident in your ironing skills. Plan ahead, get a haircut, and make sure you are well groomed.
4. Behave and Speak Professionally
As this is a professional interview, stick to the topics at hand. Avoid politically or socially charged topics. In addition, remember that professionals use business-appropriate language. Avoid slang, filler words, and sloppy speech habits.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
5. Talking Negatively of a Previous Employer
Talking negatively of a former employer reflects poorly on you. In addition, the world is a fairly small place—you never know whether an interviewer could be friends with your former employer. If you had a bad experience with a previous employer, be honest, but strategic—identify a concrete reason for your move. You want to leave a positive impression on the interviewer.
6. Staring at the Wall
Eye contact with your interviewer conveys confidence in your abilities and helps to convince the interviewer of the truth of your statements. You don’t need to stare at your interviewer the whole time, but you do need to stay focused and maintain good eye contact. In addition, pay attention to body language, both that of your interviewer and your own. A good tip is to mirror what the hiring manager is doing in terms of demeanor, energy, and, sometimes, even the way the interviewer is sitting (i.e., leaning to one side or the other). These subtle cues can not only help the interview feel more relaxed, but can also help convince them that you fit in well with the organization.
Paying attention to this quick guide of interviewing dos and don’ts will help ensure you make the best first impression on your interviewer. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg! We offer a variety of personalized services to dive into the details and truly prepare you for the interviewing experience. The most successful interviewees make a great first impression and then wow the company with succinct, clear explanations of their work experience.
Contact us to learn more about the different packages The Wilbanks Consulting Group offers to help you prepare for and excel in interviews! Biomedical science and healthcare students, trainees, postdocs, and professionals can take our WCG Online Academy “Interview Illustrations” course anytime, on-demand by clicking here: http://www.wilbanksconsulting.com/wcg-online-academy/.
Amanda Y. Hendrix
Expert Consultant, The Wilbanks Consulting Group