Look Right, Act Right & Be Right: How To Crush That Job Interview

There’s no shortage of resources out there on how to “crush” (aka: “do well on”) job interviews.  Some posts focus on the mechanics of the conversation, others on etiquette or appearance.  Here is Bench Inc.’s take on everything that matters for interview success.

Looking Right

Your goal is to create a great first impression and to not cause any distractions for the interviewers.  Dress for the role, or preferably higher.  It’s hard to be overdressed for an interview, but you definitely can be under-dressed.

Pay attention to the details

Check the appearance of your shoes, belts, and fingernails.  If something needs a coat of polish, take care of it.  Be clean, neat and unwrinkled.  

For corporate jobs, cover tattoos and remove piercing jewelry unless you are certain their culture is ok with them.  Avoid bringing odors.  Don’t smoke before the interview, or wear colognes and perfumes.  Many people are super sensitive to all of the above.

Acting Right

Spend time preparing in advance for the tough questions.  Behavioral questions that are backwards-looking are often the hardest to answer because they require a solid example to talk about.  If you’re prepared to answer behavioral questions, you’ll be able to handle anything they throw at you.

Be on time or slightly early.  If you run late for any reason and can’t get through en route to explain, call it out to your interviewer right away upon arrival.  Many interviewers can’t overlook a late candidate.

Make direct eye contact and give a solid handshake.  If you have doubts about either, practice with a friend.  Approach your interview with confidence, but not arrogance.

Answers questions completely but always concisely.  Don’t ramble and don’t overshare details unnecessarily.  If the interviewer wants to hear more after an answer, she’ll ask for it.

Being Right

Being right is not making mistakes.  Wrong-headed moves can quickly take the shine off an otherwise fine interview.  Watch out for these interview traps:

Not preparing in advance.  Well before the interview, consider or research the company.  Also research possible questions, especially those that ask candidates to draw specific examples from their past employment.  It’s easy to find lists of both traditional and behavior-based questions.

Walking in empty-handed.  Bring something to write on, and something to write with.  If nothing else, at least pretend to take a couple of notes during the interview.  Doing so conveys respect to the interviewers and makes you look interested.

Not asking insightful questions when given the opportunity.  Make sure you don’t ask something basic that’s stated on the company’s website.  Questions about the organization’s culture or values are often a good starting point.

Not sending a thank you email promptly.  Your interviewer should have handed you a business card listing an email address at the start.  If you don’t have one, send your email to the recruiter to forward, or ask the receptionist for assistance on the way out.

Interviewing is a skill that is infrequently used but is applied under high stakes circumstances.  Interviews can be severely underestimated by candidates.  Looking right, acting right and not being wrong will set you up to…  crush it!