Congratulations, you did it! You finally got that interview with the agency in charge of placing a candidate into the new position. This is not something to take lightly. The recruiter will evaluate you based on your timeliness, resume, interview skills, appearance and confidence in your abilities. Remember they are “weeding out the less qualified” and all of these things are important, so be ten minutes early, appropriately dressed and ready to give them your best. They are not the employer but they will be paying you if hired, and the expectations they have of you are the employer’s expectations, so keep that in mind.
The recruiter is generally contracted to find experts for the hiring company and their loyalty is with them, not with you, so it is important to be honest about your abilities, in other words, DON’T LIE! They will find out and usually the same day you have your interview, leaving you with no chance to interview with the employer. Most recruiters now test you on your skills as part of the interview process through a skills assessment test such as Kenexa’s “Prove It” or one designed for their office. This is a very agonizing process but one that is necessary in today’s job market, particularly for anything administrative in nature. Bottom line; be prepared and be certain you can back up claims you make about your skills and qualifications.
In the interest of your future job, during the interview it is very important to ask questions about the position, the company and the employers expectations. You are there to be interviewed but don’t sell yourself short by not asking questions, after all, this is where you could potentially be working for a long time to come. The recruiter will have information about the company before you go to the interview with the employer. Research the company thoroughly to gain a better understanding of how the company operates by using their website and directing questions to the recruiter before the interview. Employers don’t want you to recite their mission statement necessarily, but they do want you to have knowledge about what they do, and ask questions. The interview process works both ways and employers will be more impressed with someone that has done their homework than someone that has no idea what their company does other than the job they applied for.
Five Simple Do’s and Don’ts of a positive interview
1. Personal Hygiene
- Please Shower before you go and wear anti-perspirant/deodorant. Sweating during an interview is common and no one wants to smell body odor or see pit rings in your clothes.
- Cologne/Perfume…That extra squirt is a bad idea, its nice to smell good but keep it to a minimum; someone might have allergies and remember that you stink, instead of your shining attributes as a professional.
- Hair…keep it neat, if your hair is long and ready for a rock concert, pull it back or wear it up, having that bed-head look is bad for business.
- Makeup…Minimize, you are not on your way to a circus and the clown look is just scary.
- Fingernails…keep them shaped and trimmed, and if you must wear nail polish pick a neutral color without the jewelry and designs-men cut them it is just rather gross to see a man with long finger nails.
- Jewelry…Minimize! Bangles, rings, earrings and necklaces are nice to look at but really serve no purpose at work, they are distracting and you are there to do a job not to impress anyone with your glitz and gold. Besides, the recruiter may think that based on your “expensive” jewels, you don’t really need a job.
- Men…shave! Five o’clock shadows are great for lumberjacks but not for professional interviews. In addition, no one wants to see the effort you have put into growing your nose hairs to craft braids into your mustache or your ear hair pressed against your sideburns for that “Elvis” effect, these things need to be trimmed!
2. Dress appropriately
- Unless you’re going to work at a tattoo parlor…Please cover your tattoos and remove facial/tongue piercings
- Clothes should be clean, pressed, and conservative not revealing too much skin (i.e. the 4 B’s-back, belly, breasts, butt)
- No tennis shoes or strappy stripper type shoes…again Conservative is key here.
3. Be Early! Be Prepared!-Fashionably late works for dinner parties but not for interviews
- If you even think, you will be late for the interview, call the recruiter and let them know, but its better just to be there ten minutes early.
- If you find a job before your interview call the recruiter, do not, under any circumstances just blow them off! Call them right away to let them know, or it will leave a bad impression and if that job doesn’t work out, you may need their assistance again and they will refuse you.
- Bring your resume, address and contact information of previous employers, two forms of ID (social Security card and Drivers License preferably) and names and contact information of 3 verifiable business references-The recruiter will ask for these things.
- If the recruiting agency offers direct deposit for the deposit of your paychecks, and you want that option, bring a voided check or voided deposit slip with your account number.
4. Don’t Bring Your Bad habits!
- Don’t smoke in the car before you get to the interview, even rolling down the windows and turning on the fan does not get rid of the smell
- Don’t drink anything in the car you might spill it
- Don’t chew gum during the interview, talking with a wad of gum in your mouth is noticeable and interferes with the clarity of your speech
- Don’t use improper sentences or grammar, your not going to the club with your friends for an evening of “let it all hang out” be professional! “Yo babe wuz-up” and “keep it real yo” are not appropriate. Nor is “How U doin?”
5. Body Language/Communication
- Crossing your arms, rolling your eyes and playing with your hair during an interview shows lack of interest-be conscious of your actions
- Be receptive to the interviewer’s words and pay attention, sit up straight and check the attitude at the door, this is no time to be “Billy Bad Ass”
- Facial expressions and hand gestures are part of communication just be careful how you use them
- Answer all questions about previous work experience honestly and openly and don’t interrupt, be patient you will have your chance to talk
- Don’t badmouth previous employers or co-workers the recruiter might do business with or know them.
- Don’t overshare-Too Much Information (TMI) is a bad thing! The recruiter does not need to know that you are a member of a nudist colony on the weekends and the President of Jenna Jamieson’s fan club! Some things are better left unsaid and personal information about your personal life should be kept to a minimum
Now you’re ready…Just one more thing, remember to smile and be courteous, and treat the interview process as a stepping-stone to the next level. Even if you don’t get this job, the recruiter will be impressed with you and you will be kept in mind for other positions. Good Luck and Happy Hunting!