Your clothes need to be freshly pressed, and it is important to make sure that your shoes are polished. It is usually better to go with a more conservative look, so wild blouses, shirts or ties are out.
You must be well groomed. Your hair (and beard) must be combed and neat. Your nails need to be clean (yes, people do notice your nails, especially during a handshake) and freshly cut. We generally advise people to avoid perfume and cologne, as they can be overwhelming to some. If you feel you must wear perfume, choose a subtle scent.
Make sure your teeth are clean as well. A well-timed breath mint is also a good idea to make sure that your breath is fresh. If you use a product like a Listerine Pocket Pack, make sure to use it at least five minutes before you will be greeting any staff members, as they can be overwhelming.
Any colored beverage or food can stain your clothes, especially if you are wearing white. While Tide Sticks and similar products are a good way to clean up any last minute stains, it’s better not to eat or drink anything aside from water after you leave your house.
Bring 5-10 copies of your resume on professional resume paper. Yes, the interviewer probably has a copy of your resume, but if you submitted it online or e-mailed it, s/he probably does not have it on resume paper, and presenting a more professional copy makes you look better. In addition, there are occasions when multiple interviewers will be working with you, and it is possible that some of them do not have a copy of your resume.
Interviewing is all about your professional persona, and carrying your resumes in your hand can be a bit awkward. We recommend that you bring a professional portfolio to carry the copies of your resume, a pen, note cards, and whatever else you may need. Make sure to hold the portfolio with the opening facing upwards, otherwise your resumes may fall out, and it will look like you have never carried a portfolio before.
Be sure to arrive at your destination at least one hour before your interview. Being late is the quickest way to lose a job opportunity. Traffic and public transportation are not always reliable and are not an acceptable excuse for not being on time.
When you arrive, make sure you know the location of the correct office, but do not walk in too early. Arriving too early can be just as bad as arriving too late, as the office staff wonders what to do with you as you wait your turn. We often advise students to pass through security to make sure there are no difficulties and spend their time in the cafeteria until right before their scheduled time. A local coffee shop is a great option for small companies that don’t have their own cafeterias. Arriving at the office 5 to 10 minutes early is your best bet.
Everything you do, from the moment you walk into the office building until after you leave, must be completely professional. Stories abound of folks who ruined their opportunities by behaving unprofessionally while waiting in the cafeteria or a local coffee shop. Another great tip: Make sure to be nice to the secretary. It is the right thing to do and secretaries often have a lot of influence over their bosses.
The appointed hour has now arrived and the dreaded moment is upon you; it’s time for your interview. What do you do? What will they ask? How do you remain calm? These are all great questions which we will address in the next article.
We welcome your feedback. Please email your career-related inquiries and/or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Touro College’s Career Services assists Touro students and alumni in all aspects of their career search. Contributing to this feature are Ron Ansel, MBA, CPC, Director of Career Services, Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed, and Sarri Singer, Assistant Directors.