Whether interviewing for a full-time professional position, as a student or simply meeting with someone to gather information, making a good first impression is vital. Rita Jenkins, with over 21 years of experience recruiting in the field of healthcare administration, is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the profession. Jenkins offers tips for interview success:
- Arrive 10 minutes early.
- Bring a few copies of your resume; you never know whom you will end up meeting.
- Maintain good eye contact and offer a firm handshake.
The Vitals: Preparation
Sit down the night before an interview and note three to five of your strengths and achievements, so that you are prepared when asked the inevitable, “Tell me about yourself.” The employer’s questions are likely going to be those that are best answered with examples, so take time to consider some responses. Keep them brief and to the point. Do not ramble.
Make note of one or two potential weaknesses you might have and think of ways to turn them into positives. For example, some people say they dislike doing paperwork. Looking at it in another way, paperwork takes time away from working with clients. Importantly, recognize that the paperwork gets done and always on time.
Keep it Positive: Do not disparage your former employers; instead share your respect for them or their work, or both.
Pay Attention: Watch the interviewer’s body language, listen to his or her tone of voice and the speed at which they speak, and mirror them. People tend to like people who are similar to themselves.
Closing: When you feel the interview is drawing to a close make a statement similar to, “Well, you certainly know more about me, and I have very much enjoyed meeting you. Regarding this opportunity, is there anything in my background or experience which would prevent me from getting this position?” This allows you to immediately address, and hopefully turn around any concerns. End the interview by asking about the next step.
Conservative Attire is Always Best:
- Show up feeling confident about your clothes.
- For men: a dark suit, white shirt, conservative tie and polished shoes. Hair should be neatly styled. If necessary, get a haircut in advance.
- For women: a conservative suit (pants or skirt), or a dress with a blazer. Avoid short skirts. Wear hose regardless of the temperature, closed- toe shoes, a neat purse, and limited jewelry — large and dangling earrings are not for interviews. If you are unsure, show your planned ensemble to someone you trust.