BY JESSICA GLAZER, MONTREAL GAZETTE
Once a company wants to meet you, it means your résumé has been viewed, and the company you applied for, likes what you have presented on paper. So now, it's your time to shine. Chances are if you don't make it past the first interview, then something you said or did within the interview setting was not right. The match they thought they saw through your résumé was not present when they met you. During the interview, you must always remain professional, bring three copies of your résumé and dress in a suit. You can always dress down, once you get hired but you can never call or email your potential employer and address the issue that you should have dressed up for the occasion.
If you are late, don't apologize for being late; don't be late. However, in life, things happen. You can get stuck in traffic, your boss may make you stay later then expected or your kids have you behind schedule but there's no reason why you can't call before actually arriving late. It's better to call and let them think you will be late than try to make it by the skin of your teeth and then not arrive on time.
While in the interview, do not chew gum; hiding it to the side of your mouth won't help.
So ask the reception where you can find a garbage or worse comes to worst swallow it and if you smoke do not smoke outside the office. You are not hired and the people outside are not your co-workers.
In fact it's the opposite, until you get hired, they wonder who you are and can see you as a threat and if they see someone they don't know, like a pack of wolves they are territorial and will question your every move.
Everything you do until the moment you are hired, you are judged so think accordingly.
When you are asked a question, be clear and concise with your answers. Don't just answer yes or no, even if you are asked a close ended question. Elaborate on your answer with concrete examples about what you have done in the past that match what the company needs you do. Engage in a conversation. The more they know about you the better.
When asked about your past or current employer, as bad as it may have been, do not knock your boss or your co-workers. There was a time when you did get along with them; as a reminder, this was when you were hired, so don't say anything negative. Turn every experience you had into a positive experience. No one wants to hire Negative Nancy for their office, or someone who can't get along with others.
In regards to your experience, don't say "I don't have experience."Attitude and enthusiasm go a long way. What can you do? What have done that's related to what they are looking for? Never lie or exaggerate your experiences but think of what you have done that correlates to what they need. Often the potential employer isn't asking questions as much as the prospective employee is just rambling to the point of no return, because they are nervous or feel that companies want to hear everything. Just demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and show off the skills and experience you do have that will contribute to the career at hand.
In regards to salary, it's okay to intern, it's okay to volunteer but don't sell yourself short. Find out what industry standards are and go from there. Know what you are worth and expect others to appreciate you as well. If you are working never give an actually salary range regarding what you are looking for like 50-60k. The company will always think closer to 50k and the interviewee will always think closer to 60k.
We all have our weaknesses but saying you will never work overtime should not be one of them. At times you may be asked to work overtime. Everyone can work overtime one day a year if need be. If the job for which you are interviewing for requires more overtime then you are unwilling or unable to work extra hours due to other commitments, then say what those commitments are and worse comes to worse then this job may not be the job for you.
If you have a jumpy resume don't say "I don't like to stay in one place very long." or "I changed companies because I needed to be challenged" This makes you look very unstable. A company wants to hire people that will stay, not feel as though they are big used to gain some experience as they will change every year or two. Have solid reasons as to why you left and even if it was for more challenges explain exactly what those challenges were rather then just saying "more challenges were offered." Communication is key.
Don't give "we" sentences! Who is "we"? This is not an interview for a team it's an interview for YOU what did YOU do?
If you get nervous in an interview, then print out the job description in advance and write line for line what you have done that matches the job at hand this way when questions are asked, you don't have to think right then and there what you have done that matches the company and career at hand because at the end of the day, this is just a conversation between two people.
Jessica Glazer is recruitment director and founder of MindHR, a placement agency in Montreal.