Interviewing 101: Have we forgotten the basics?

With few employment opportunities available, one would think the pool of qualified candidates would be overflowing, right? WRONG! We are currently interviewing candidates for a summer internship at our company. I am constantly amazed by the applicant’s lack of interest, enthusiasm and professionalism during the course of the interview. Has the bleak outlook for employment caused people to neglect “interviewing basics”?

1) BE ON TIME- Being on time is the golden rule when interviewing. Traffic isn’t an excuse for being late. Plan ahead and prepare for unforeseen events such as accidents and traffic jams. If being late is unavoidable, make sure you call and notify the company. We had a candidate arrive for an interview 35 minutes late without calling or even sending a text. This is unacceptable and speaks volumes about the applicant.

2) BE PREPARED- Prior to your interview, take the time to research the company you are interviewing with. Visit their website, Google the company’s name for any recent press releases or news articles. There is nothing worse than having a candidate that knows nothing about the company she/he is interviewing with. We had a candidate come to our office and actually ask us what our company did. Unbelievable!

3) DRESS FOR SUCCESS- Your attire and appearance is just as important as your resume. Make sure you arrive at your interview in neat, clean and professional attire. We can all appreciate great fashion, but an interview is not the time to express your unique fashion sense. When in doubt, conservative attire is always best. An interviewee arrived at our office unshaven, shirt improperly buttoned and with no socks! What a great first impression!

4) FOLLOW-UP- After your interview, make sure to follow up with an email or a hand written note thanking your interviewer for his or her time. This is a great time differentiate yourself from the rest of the candidates by reiterating your skills and interest in the job. If you and the interviewer share a common interest bring that commonality up in your follow-up note as well. To date, we have yet to receive a single follow up letter or email from any of our interviewees.

Is it too much to ask for an interviewee to show up on time, properly dressed and informed about our company? I guess for now, our search continues…

Have you had an interview nightmare? Please leave a comment, we would love to hear from you!

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