Articles from TheCareerAdvisor
Interviewing Tips From a Non-stop Interviewer
  Since 1978, I've interviewed all day, every day. As a consultant, I've sold our services to more than 350 brand-name U.S. corporations, and I've debriefed 2500 executives returning from job interviews. Out of that, I've distilled the following philosophy.

I usually dress a half-step up for interviews. Meaning, if the interviewers dress casually, I wear a sport coat. If they're in sports clothes, I wear a suit. I lay out my clothes the night before. Shoe polish is a big thing. How you look does affect your success. Executives have told me they make a hiring decision within five minutes of meeting a candidate—sometimes less.

Many job candidates visit our office looking shaggy—not quite finished around the edges. I caution them to replace their 15-year-old eyeglasses, neckties, and shoes with something more fashionable. A $75 necktie is a good investment if it delivers a job offer.

I suggest replacing dog-eared or suitcase-sized briefcases. If you can't afford a new attaché, buy a 9x12" leather portfolio to carry a legal pad. That's enough—and it looks sharp. Luggage stores and office supply houses have both expensive and inexpensive options. Give them a try.

Once ready to interview, shower with deodorant soap. (Oh, yes, some professionals still need to hear this.) Dress in freshly dry-cleaned clothes. Guys, don't iron your own shirts—send them to the laundry and ask for medium to heavy starch. (Unless you're interviewing at a steel mill, of course.)

I like to be in the neighborhood an hour early for important meetings. That allows time for traffic jams, finding the building, parking problems, rain or snow showers, parades, and other Murphy's Law events. To beat morning rush hour traffic, I leave home at 6:00 a.m., find the meeting location, then have breakfast in a nearby restaurant. That way, I arrive relaxed and refreshed, as opposed to flustered by stop-and-go.

I find a bathroom to freshen up, and never skip this step. You'd be amazed at what the mirror reveals, just in the nick of time. I use a restroom on a different floor from my appointment, because I don't want to meet my interviewer there first.

Here's a hint: if unsure about restroom availability, use a nearby hotel or restaurant. Study yourself carefully in the mirror. Comb your hair. Check your look. Use a breath mint, even if you don't think you need one. Is your legal pad easy to access, or will you have to dig through your suitcase to find it? Do you have Kleenex® and a pen?

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Next, proceed to the elevator. Punch your floor, and enjoy the ride.

I never enter an interviewer's suite more than 10 minutes in advance. I'm friendly with the receptionist and with everyone nearby. Some of them will be involved in the hiring decision.

I wait standing in the lobby—it implies energy. While waiting, I read awards, posters, and company information, searching for topics of conversation. As the interviewer arrives, I lift my briefcase in my left hand, and walk toward her. She introduces herself and we smile and shake hands. I say, "I'm Bill Frank, and I see your team just won the American Red Cross Cycling Classic!"

She says, "Yes, we did . . . and I'm so very glad to meet you!"

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