If you have been in the job market for any more than two weeks, there is an excellent chance you have read dozens of articles offering loads of general interviewing tips. As such, it is likely you already understand the importance of arriving 15 minutes early, giving a firm handshake, establishing eye contact, and wearing clean shoes (doesn’t it sound like A broken record?)
But what can you employ to set yourself apart from the competition? What important, little used details can you integrate into your interview strategy that can turn the interviewer into your advocate? In this first of two articles on non-conventional interview tips, we’ll cover the time leading up to the interview itself.
“Case The Joint”
While you may not be planning a daring bank robbery, you still won’t want unexpected logistics issues getting you off to the wrong start. If you haven’t been to the interview location before, drive past it the day before to make certain you know the best route to avoid traffic delays.
Check the parking situation. Does the building have its own lot? Will you have to park on the street or in a lot a few blocks away? The last thing you want is to spend 10 minutes looking for a parking space. This will add to your stress level and make the interview process that much more difficult.
“When Not To Accessorize”
You already know about keeping it professional and understated when it comes to your interview ensemble. (you did read the other articles, right?) But let’s take a deeper look.
A common nervous habit in the interview setting is the twirling of rings. It is the first cousin to wringing your hands. Unless you have gone through practice interviews before where your technique has been critiqued, you may be doing this and not be aware of it. If you are not sure, remove any rings prior to the interview and the problem is solved.
How about those bracelets? Yes, there are many tasteful selections out there to make you look professional, but you want to be certain they aren’t clanging together and making noise during the interview. You will be shaking hands, gesturing during conversation (at least you should be), and taking notes. If you have on more than one bracelet, the noise may distract, or even annoy your interviewer. It is best to play it safe and keep it to one bracelet.
“When Accessories Can Help”
Standard interview protocol calls for the dark “power suit”. But it just so happens that the day of your interview is supposed to be rainy and dreary. These types of days have a depressing effect on people, including your interviewer. Remember that your job is to stand out. This is when you make use of your accessories to affect the interviewer’s mood.
Guys, try a brighter tie than usual. You don’t want anything over the top, but it should be bright enough to add color to a dreary day. Ladies, you can afford to have a little more fun with it. How about a gold broach (perhaps of the sun) or neck pendant? While the other candidates will blend in with the dark theme of the day, you will have made a memorable impact that gets you noticed.
“Arrive Early For Your Early Arrival”
Every book and article that you have read mentions arriving to the interview 10 to 15 minutes early. But you don’t want to use the 15 minutes to decompress from traffic jams or phone calls you took in the car from your family.
You should park your car 30 minutes prior to the interview (or 15 minutes before your standard 15 minute arrival time). If interviewing at a small office where they may see you outside, park down the street or around the corner.
The security of knowing that you’ve safely arrived on time can allow you to relax and take some time to review your notes, practice your interview responses, or even mediate. Now when you enter that office 15 minutes early, all of your prep work is complete.
It’s game time!