The economy is in the dumps and you have to make that first impression and initial interview decisive. Your resume gets the recruiter interested in you and helps decide between the finalists for the position offered, but to set you apart from the others you must shine at the interview. Recruiters are looking to fill spaces with what they see as future potential. Your work experience will be proof of what you have been able to do in the past but there is a limit to how far that will or can carry you forward. What they perceive you will be able to do in the future for the company is the main point of the interview.
Be prepared by doing background research. Find out about the company, its past achievements, what it’s doing, and its future plans. Try to remember the names of its top executives, even if you are applying for an entry level position. This will show that you have initiative enough to go beyond the basics.
Show up to the interview dressed for success. Women stay away from sexy. Dress conservatively in classic styles and you will not be found at fault. It will make you appear well grounded. Make certain your shoes are clean, fingernails clean and clipped, hair neat and breath fresh. Suck on a couple of mints before your interview.
When you first walk into a scheduled interview the first person you encounter will most probably be a receptionist/assistant. Be very polite and observe. Sit up, do not slouch. Stay off the phone and do not text message. Read over your resume or read a professional journal you brought with you.
This is where you will make the first impression. Do not conclude that this person will not influence whether or not you are hired. They might be asked the simple question by their boss, “How did they act when they first arrived and while they were waiting?” In an established organization these people will have been in their position for a while and will know what the company expects. All they have to say when asked “what do you think?” is “I don’t know” and you have a mark against you. People who work together for a time trust each other’s opinions and you are an unknown.
When you are first introduced to the recruiter shake hands and tell them it is a pleasure to meet them. Do not start talking about other things, let them begin the conversation. They do this full time and are not interested in making small talk with you. Talk too much and you will make a mistake by saying something incorrect.
Answer all their questions completely without blabbering on about non essential information. They do not care. If you have prepared properly then you have a few questions to ask. Do not ask about time off or paid vacations, but do ask about compensation. You will want to know if they are willing to pay for your talent. Ask some open questions about the company to show that you do have an interest beside just showing up to receive a pay cheque.
A final question to ask which most recruiters do not hear is ,”If I get the job, what is expected from me. What performance criteria must I pass to be considered an above average employee.”
Think outside the box and what you would expect from someone if you were hiring them. The recruiter is not interested in you beyond what you will or can do for the company. Any questions or behaviour that you ask or show must highlight your benefits to the company.