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The Five Most Important Interview Tips

Tags:  Interview Skills, Looking for work, Life after college

Naturally you want to do well on your job interview, so you read everything you can about answering questions properly and dressing for success. However, it takes a lot more than a nice outfit and well-scripted responses to land a job.

Employers are looking for the right mix of personal qualities that fit with their corporate culture. And you can demonstrate that you have these qualities through more than how you dress or answer questions.

If interview tips are a dime a dozen, then here are five that will cost you less than a nickel. And well worth the price.


You arrive at the company for your interview and when the recruiter appears at the doorway, she neglects to introduce herself, is distracted by co-workers on the way to her office and rushes you through the interview process. How does this make you feel? Probably not very important.

No matter what values an organization incorporates into their mission, vision and values program, you can bet that courtesy is part of the package. So even if you are not given the red-carpet treatment, keep your cool and be polite to everyone. The walls really do have ears.


You cannot say enough about being on time for your job interview. It is far and away one of the most important things you can do. So keep these tips in mind.

  • Plan ahead. That means selecting what you'll wear the night before, pulling your briefcase or notebook together and having everything waiting to leave the next day.
  • Get there early. Give yourself extra time, not just to be timely, but because you'll probably have to fill out an application anyway.
  • Know where you are going. Have directions, even if that means driving by the company a day or two before. And be sure you know where to park.


You want to make a good first impression and show the company that you are really interested the job? Then act like it by being engaged.

If you slouch and yawn and seem distracted, you are sending the message that you could care less. However, if you smile and make eye contact and lean forward as you speak, you are telling the world – and the interviewer – that you are all ears.


Part of what employers are looking for in their top candidates is their communication skills. This means both written and verbal.

It will be immediately obvious if you have great verbal communication skills by the way you interact with the interviewer. Are you comfortable and able to engage in small talk (see our companion article, Eight Tips on How to Chat)? Do you respond to interview questions in a clear and concise manner?

However, what is not as immediately identifiable is whether or not your written communication skills are up to par. You may want to consider bringing samples of your writing with you to share, just in case you have an opportunity to demonstrate that you've got this skill covered, too.

Finally, communication comes through body language, too. If you avoid eye contact, fidget, shift in your seat, bite your nails or engage in any other obvious visual behavior, you may not be sending the right message.


Yes, what you wear is important, especially for making a good first impression. However, you also want to leave a great lasting impression, too. That means how you behave, interact and present yourself.

Be relaxed without being casual. Be friendly without being overly familiar. Be professional without being uptight. It's okay to be nervous; most of us are in job interviews. What you need to demonstrate is your ability to interact with anyone. Find your comfort zone.

Most employers are looking for that perfect mix of polished professional and next-door neighbor. And you have a perfect opportunity to make a great impression by arriving on time and demonstrating you are courteous and engaged through how you communicate.




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