Interviewing Tips Before You Enter The Fray

by | March 10, 2009

If you're preparing to head into interviews, you're probably nervous. Here are a few tips to remember as you prepare to interview.

Dress well. For men, this means the traditional navy or gray suit. This is not the time to experiment with your salmon pink button down shirt. Even the ubiquitous French blue is a bit racy for the interview. Women should wear a suit as well, though for whatever reason it's fine for women to wear black suits. It goes without saying that women should wear pantyhose. Do not wear a dress or mismatched separates. Jewelry should be kept at a minimum.

Tiny diamond earrings, Mom's pearl necklace, simple rings = OKDangling earrings, bangle bracelets, scarab pendant necklace left over from King Tut exhibit = not OK.

The same reserve should be taken with makeup. If you're unsure about what to put on, go to a makeup counter and tell them you need to be made up in a professional manner (they should do it for free - you can promise to buy stuff if you get the job!).

Always dress formally. Even if your interviewer invites you to dress casual (or business casual), don't. Even if your interviewer shows up wearing an unwashed T-shirt, you should still look your best. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but it's psychologically valid, like girding for battle.

Bring with you:

A nice leather portfolio. Assuming you don't have interviews on the same day, you may be able to borrow this item from a friend (more difficult if it is monogrammed). This is preferable to a heavy briefcase or, god forbid, a backpack.

Extra copies of your resume and transcript. The worst way to start off an interview is to have your interviewer ask you for an extra copy of your resume - and not to have one.~A pad of paper and a pen. Many consulting and investment banking interviewers will ask you to answer questions for which you may need to do some basic calculations. You may also wish to take some notes during the interview. Asking for either paper or a pen makes you look disorganized.

Before the interview:

Identify questions you want to ask during the interview.
Make sure you understand what the position entails.
Think about successful leadership positions you've had and recent triumphs.
Do your research on the company. Vault.com (at http://www.vault.com) can save you hours of research time, as can the company web sites.
Relax and remember - you wouldn't have gotten the interview if they weren't already interested in you. Try to relax and stay confident. Good luck to you!

Filed Under: Interviewing


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