Recently we helped a new business with their initial interviews. With over 200 people attending across three days, it was a busy time but equally pleasing to see the opportunity embraced in the area! There were times however, where people unfortunately made those clichéd mistakes. At Under Construction we like to turn potential negatives into positives and so feedback on ‘interview don’ts’ became the inspiration for the latest blog – First Impressions Count. Believe us, they really do!
Check and Re-check.
When contacting an employer by email, should that email bounce back, (especially when you try more than once) it is most likely an error by the person sending. Look carefully at the address you have typed, just one letter missing or in the wrong place will cause this. If you cannot find a problem, ask a friend or a relative to have a look – sometimes we miss our own typos because you ‘cannot see for looking’. Once positive that you are mistake free you should contact the employer to discuss, be accepting if it turns out you have still made a typo and be mindful of your attitude when enquiring. Discussing a mistake or making them aware of technical issues in advance is a much better route than not following instructions, turning up announced, complaining you sent an email but did not hear anything.
We see them in Doctors surgeries and Hospitals but “Did Not Attends” occur during the interview process too! I have to admit, I find it hard to understand how a quick email or telephone call to let someone know out of courtesy is too much to ask! If you want to work for that company in the future make time to cancel an arranged interview, not doing so can jeopardise future opportunities.
The Night Before.
Think about what you eat and drink the night before, whilst a bit of Garlic in your Spaghetti or a spicy Curry might be your favourite meal, wait until after your interview. Your interviewer does not want to know what you have been eating and drinking over the past hours. If you really cannot wait, make sure you have plenty of mints on hand to get you (and the interviewer) through a face-to-face conversation. Dispose of chewing gum before an interview and dispose of it responsibly so it does not attach to the next persons shoe or forever litter the environment.
Choosing the Right Outfit.
Something that will affect your “First Impression” is your choice of clothing. Keep it simple and smart, make sure your clothes are clean and odour free. There are inexpensive tools out there to freshen up clothes and remove bits from clothing; Timpsons still offer free dry cleaning for unemployed people if you provide evidence that you have an interview. Trainers, Bobble Hats, see-through White Trousers and Leggings are just some clothing choices I saw that you should avoid; this article can provide further help. Your choice of attire speaks volumes – you have made an effort, you are serious about the job and the employer has not wasted their time or sadly, the other way around! With customer focussed and image-dependant roles, employers will be looking at this from the outset, hair, teeth, and nails are all indicators of whether you would uphold their image.
Just the Receptionist.
When you step foot into the grounds of a potential employer your attitude should be consistently polite with everyone you meet or talk with from reception onwards. Provide everyone with a good ‘first impression’ of you; they are all able to feedback to the interviewer, especially negatives about your mannerism, tone and attitude.
We are all human, mistakes happen. When you receive interview information, do check that the day corresponds with the date and that you are happy with all the detail. If there are discrepancies with the instruction, go back and ask for confirmation prior to the interview. If you leave it you will be either a DNA or a day early and a ‘typo’ from the employer will look like a mistake on your behalf. Other good ideas are to check the location of the interview, parking arrangements and allow plenty of time to arrive.
There are many interview tips out there; this blog focuses only on aspects that were experienced first-hand to help ensure that your first impression is not the last. The National Career Service can help further – visit the partner page.