Believe it or not, branding yourself begins with your first job. Maybe it's a babysitting position or working at a local grocery store, every position, no matter how small, brands your name and your career legacy.
Nailing that job interview is an important step in the process. Not always does the candidate who has more experience or is more qualified win the position. I've often hired a candidate because of the way he/she seemed more excited or I was impressed by their follow up. Setting yourself apart is about showing respect for the company your interviewing with by following a few simple rules.
Remember, the interview is your first impression so make it a GREAT one!
Dress for success. Wear appropriate attire, be sure hair is nicely groomed and nails are clean. Minimal makeup is important and if your nails are polished make sure polish is neutral in color. *You don't want to be remembered for wild makeup or unsightly nails.
Shake hands properly. Look your interviewer in the eye and offer your hand. A good handshake should be around 4 "pumps"; speak clearly and confidently.
Your phone should be turned off or silenced; your interview should be uninterrupted. Sit up straight and have questions for the interviewer about the position and company. I recommend doing some research prior to the interview. Visit their website and mention something you learn about the company during your conversation; an employer wants to know the person they hire is excited about joining the team.
DO NOT ask about salary at your first interview! Simply stated....it's tacky! You are there to gather information about the position and they are gaining information about you and whether you are the right fit. Salaries should be addressed during a later conversation.
After the interview, send a handwritten thank you note. Be sure to include something you learned about the company or interviewer; make it personal and memorable without sounding insincere. Make sure you have the interviewers full name and address of company before you leave your interview. *This does not include thank you's sent through text or email!
I really don't know why I need to include this but I've seen this time after time.....if you accept a position and decide in the interim that you no longer wish to take it be sure to let the employer know. It is NEVER acceptable to not show up and believe me, it is very possible this will come back to you in the future.
Last but not certainly not least, do not burn bridges. You never know if that next position will require someone from your past; a former co-worker or supervisor. Always leave with dignity and pride.
Following these simple rules will set you in the right direction to making a fabulous first impression. I would love to hear from you; let me know your thoughts and experiences with job interviews by commenting below.