Do you know the rules of the job interview?
Smile, be positive, be prepared, research the company, don’t bash your previous employer, send a “Thank You” note. They are set in stone and you’d do well not to deviate. If you stick to the rules, you’ll come across as professional and poised, and hopefully your skills will also set you apart from the other candidates.
Well, here are five lesser known job interview tips that you might never have heard before. Adding these little gems to your repertoire may set you even further above your competition.
Open with a story. Have something prepared before you get there but try to make it look spontaneous. So, when you greet the interviewer you have something to say right off the bat.
Workopolis Chief Editor Peter Harris offers the following example: “I was meeting two people to interview in a coffee shop, and on the way I passed an old motel that was being torn down. It had a sign out front that read, ‘Used mattresses for sale – $25.’ That was my opener when I met the interviewers. I said, ‘Did you see that there’s a motel down the street selling used mattresses? Would anyone ever buy a used motel mattress?”
You have a relate-able and conversational icebreaker, and you don’t have to make awkward small talk.
Choose your reading material wisely. This was brought to my attention by a recruiter friend who says she always notices what the applicant is reading.
When you go to an interview, do you think about what you’re carrying in your hands? What’s that you’re clutching? A copy of Fifty Shades of Grey that you were reading on the subway? Put that thing away. You should have gone out and bought a magazine appropriate to your industry, like Fast Company if you’re in online media or popular mechanics if you’re, well, a mechanic. Or some innocuous news magazine like Time, or something a little more highbrow, like the New Yorker.
If you’re reading trash, stash it in your bag and swap it out for something a little smarter looking before you go into the interview.
Ask “So, what’s the next step?” This isn’t entirely uncommon advice but it’s not on everyone’s list. Make sure you ask this question.
Tom Wharton of OI Global Partners explains, “You ask that and the person says, ‘Well, I’m going to finish interviewing. We’ve got six more candidates to interview, then we’ll be doing some background checks, and we’ll be conducting second interviews, probably towards the end of the month. And we hope to make a decision by April 15th.’ See the advantage that gives you?”
Now you know that if you wait much longer than April 15th, you didn’t get the job.
“I’ve got people who had an interview and three months later are still waiting on a call,” says Wharton. “Because they didn’t ask what the next step was in the process.”
Interview the interviewer. It’s important that when asked “Do you have any questions for me?” you don’t say “Nah, I’m good.” Always have prepared questions to ask. It shows you’ve put some thought into the position and the process.
Wharton suggests “Print out your list of questions. At the end when they say ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ you open your portfolio, bring your sheet out and say ‘I have a few questions. Do you mind if I take some notes?’ Now you’re interviewing the interviewer. If you really want to impress someone that’s what you’ll do.”
Print out the LinkedIn profile pages of the people interviewing you. We’re not entirely sure about this one as a tactic, but I thought I’d put it out there, having recently heard it given as advice.
Wharton suggests you “Bring things to the interview that show that you have an interest,” and says this includes, “the LinkedIn page of everyone you’re interviewing with. You have to print that out and study it and bring it to the interview.”
While I fear this looks a little stalkerish, it does, on the other hand, show that you have an interest and it is a LinkedIn page, which lists only professional information and accomplishments, not a Facebook page, which would indeed be weird.
Certain employers might very well be impressed that you took the time to learn about them professionally.
So, I’ll leave that one up to your discretion.