Man tying tie with double exposure of city buidling.

It’s the D.O.I. or day of interview, and you’re ready…

Or so you think.

Lee Group Vice President of Executive Search, Wes Ashworth, offers more suggestions to ensure that interview day goes smoothly.

  • First and foremost, be punctual by arriving 15 minutes early. The interview starts the moment your car enters the parking lot. That means obeying the speed limit in the lot and not leaving breakfast trash on the dashboard. Even if you see no one, you never know who sees you from a window. “Be mindful that somebody might be observing you, and that includes in the elevator and restroom,” Ashworth says.
  • Be respectful of the receptionist and everyone you encounter. Converse casually if you’re getting the verbal cues to do so.
  • Lock your cell phone in the car. It’s easy for a phone on vibrate to be distracting, so leaving it in the car is the best bet. If you’re insistent on bringing your phone in, make sure it’s on silent. While you’re waiting for the interview, avoid taking it out. It’s better to leaf through a magazine or sit quietly than to pull out your phone to beat your last Candy Crush score.
  • Interviews are about connection. It’s important to smile often and refrain from being robotic. Ideally, you’re establishing a dialogue with the interviewer instead of a Q&A. “You want it to feel like a conversation, not an interrogation,” Ashworth says.
  • Smile…and then smile some more. “Some many people are serious and nervous, so they forget to smile and don’t show their personality,” Ashworth says. “Smile when you talk. Smile when you meet people.”
  • A caveat to that: Smile even during a phone interview. “You can hear a smile through the phone,” Ashworth says.
  • Make eye contact but don’t be a creeper. Relax. Never stare at your shoes.
  • Slow down when you talk. Never ramble. By all means, “Don’t bulldog the conversation,” Ashworth says. “That’s something I see all the time with candidates.” Let the interviewer guide the conversation.
  • Answer the question that was asked. “Don’t be so set on a message you are trying to share that you forget to answer the question,” Ashworth says. Your responses should be direct, concise and detailed.
  • Avoid being vague. Examples matter. Don’t just say, “I lead people well. I motivate people and can get them to buy in” unless you offer a specific example to show that. Ideally, your example is relevant and recent.
  • Being a team player is worth mentioning but remember to talk about your specific contributions to a project. “A potential employer isn’t interviewing your team or your past company,” Ashworth reminds. “They’re interviewing you.”
  • Follow what Ashworth calls SOAR in detailing a relevant example during the interview. The S stands for situation. Explain the issue you were facing with enough context so it makes sense. O refers to your observation. What did you observe? What did you think? What did you see? A is for action or your specific contribution. R is result. What was the end result? If you don’t have one, you likely need a better example. Remember SOAR to keep your answers on track.
  • As the interview winds to a close, make sure you make it a point to show that you have interest in the job. Don’t just assume your interviewer knows that. They’ve learned about you, and you’ve learned about them during the interview. Reinforce that you want to be a part of the team and why you are a good fit.
  • Consider a closing question that asks, “Are there any questions or concerns you have about my ability to be successful in this position?” The answer you receive might be something of an automatic interview check on how you did. Some interviewers might reveal very little. Others might bring up a concern that you can address on the spot.
  • The interview isn’t over until you have left the premises. Smile and be courteous to everyone you meet on the way out. Take your time leaving the parking lot and prepare for the next part of the process: the follow-up.
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