- Be Yourself
Not only is this good dating advice, it’s also great interview advice. No matter how badly you think you want the job, remember to just be you. If you try to force it, you may end up with a job you aren’t a fit for, or worse, you may miss out on a great job for which you would have been perfect.
- It’s Not All About You
Too many candidates make the mistake of talking too much about themselves during the interview and failing to listen or ask questions. The more information you can glean from the interviewer(s), the better informed you will be about whether this is a job you truly want.
- Don’t Pretend to Walk on Water
During the interview, you are bound to be asked about your weaknesses. Please, for the love of Pete, do not give a hollow answer such as “I work too hard.” Not only with the interviewer see right through you, she might also be concerned you are hiding a big, ugly weakness. Be ready to talk openly about a legitimate flaw you have and how you are working to improve in that area.
- Do Your Homework
Before you interview, thoroughly research the organization and the staff with whom you will be meeting. Know about the role you are interviewing for, and have questions prepared. And it never hurts to throw in some questions for the hiring manager that might just strike a good nerve: “Claire, I understand you went to Notre Dame. I love the Fightin’ Irish! Do you ever make it back for football games?”
- Better to Overdress Than Underdress
If you’re unsure about the office attire, ask before you interview how you should dress. But when in doubt, overdress. Wearing a suit in a business casual environment never hurt anybody’s chances, but wearing jeans in a formal business attire setting has left a lot of folks spending more quality time with the Classifieds.
- Be Nice To Anyone You Meet in the Powder Room
Inevitably, you’ll visit the powder room beforehand and run into someone. That someone may be the person you are about to interview with, so be on your best behavior. I once complimented a woman on her shoes, and she turned out to be the hiring manager’s right-hand-gal. I got the job.
- No Soliloquies, Please
As a general rule, keep your responses to the interviewer’s question brief – one to two minutes max. If they want more detail, they can always ask. If you ramble on to the point you have to stop and ask, “I’m sorry, what was the question again?” you have probably said too much.
- Do You Want to Work at Innotech?
Sure you want a job, but are you sure you want this job? Pay attention to the office environment and the types of people who work there, and ask plenty of questions about what it’s like. Soon after the joy of receiving a paycheck fades, you’ll be stuck writing TPS reports, so make sure it’s a good fit for you.
- Demonstrate Your Passion
You’re not interviewing for a job in a widget factory – you’re interviewing for a job in the free-market nonprofit sector. The interviewer wants to know why affecting social change is important to you, so be ready to tell him a little bit about your passion.
- Trust Your Gut
All of my divorced friends wished they had followed this advice. If the job seems amazing but something doesn’t feel right, don’t accept the offer without learning more. Ask to speak with other staff members or even former employees. Ask around about the organization – you’ll be surprised what people tell you when you ask them for the truth.