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Interview Tips

By Don Malson
Retired as Director of the Grossnickle Career Services Center in 2014
Published Fall 2014, Affinity magazine

How early should you arrive for the interview?
If you must arrive early for an interview, make it by only a few minutes. However, it is far preferable to arrive too early than too late.

Eye contact is important, particularly when you are first greeted by an employer. Many of us nervously look away.
Force yourself to look the interviewer in the eye when you greet him or her by noticing the color of the eyes. If you tell yourself that you have to tell someone the person’s eye color after the interview, you are fairly certain to look the interviewer in the eye.

If there are several empty chairs in the interviewer room, ask the interviewer where you should sit.
If unsure where to sit ask, “Is this a good place for me to sit?”

What to talk about?
Never begin a conversation by talking about the weather, traffic or sports as they are overused. Jokes are too risky as if they fail your interview may be in trouble. Do ask, if appropriate, about any hobbies or interests suggested by pictures, plaques or other interesting items in the office or interview room.

What should you carry with you?
Carry a briefcase, and the smaller the better. You are generally better off not taking notes during an interview. Be sure to get a business card of the interviewer if you do not have one.

Don’t get to comfortable in your chair.
Don’t relax in your chair as if you were watching TV at home. Sit up, if not on the edge of your chair, to at least look and act alert.

How can you tell if the interview has gone badly?
If the interviewer repeatedly asks if you have any more questions, it’s a sign of his or her interest in stopping the interview. At this point, think quickly about anything you might add that could help your case.