Although you may have heard this saying before, it’s certainly worth repeating if you’re planning on going on job interviews any time soon: You only get one chance at leaving a good first impression.
If you’re an administrative professional, you especially know this to be true. In a field where you consistently communicate and collaborate with various groups of professionals, you likely have a good understanding of just how important it is to go into an interview and demonstrate why you are the best person for the role. You also know the most important step in achieving this: Good preparation.
“If you’re adequately prepared, you’ll never be nervous and you’ll always be ready,” Jaimee Cascione, Senior Director of Office Support and Human Resources at The Execu|Search Group, says. “By taking simple steps to prepare, you can go in with the confidence needed to impress any interviewer.”
Wondering how to make a good impression during the interview and how to avoid leaving a bad one? Here are several steps for both:
DO: Your homework
You may have spent time reading about the company before you applied for the job, but you’ll want to go back and do some additional research before your interview. It’s likely that a hiring manager will ask you whether or not you know about the company and what they do, so you will want to start with the basics about the company’s history and mission statement. “If you really want to leave an impression, see if they have recently won any awards or been featured in the news,” Jaimee advises. “It will show a hiring manager that you are interested in working for the company beyond the specific job you’re applying for.
DON’T: Distract the hiring manager
To ensure the hiring manager can stay focused on the qualities that make you the best fit for the job, make an effort to minimize any distracting behaviors. “It’s important to be conscious of your body language during the entire interview,” notes Jaimee, “You could be saying one thing to the interviewer, but communicating the opposite through your body language.” For example, slouching communicates disinterest, while fidgeting or lack of eye contact implies you are not confident in your abilities, or worse, you’re being dishonest.
DO: Present yourself well
Since many administrative roles involve daily interaction with multiple groups of professionals, your appearance and personal presentation are two things interviewers pay close attention to. Before you go into an interview, make sure that you have an outfit that’s appropriate for the type of company you are interviewing for. If it’s for a media or advertising agency, for example, you will want to tailor your image so that it’s in line with their brand. However, if you’re applying to a professional services firm, you may want to wear something that’s more business professional.
DON’T: Come unprepared
During the interview, you’ll spend a significant amount of time going over your past professional experiences and skill set, and how they make you the best fit for the role. Because of this, it is critical that you go over every part of your resume before the interview. “If you have to constantly look down at your resume to answer basic questions about your experience, it can raise some red flags about your eligibility for the role,” Jaimee says.
DO: Know where you are going
You should travel to the interviewing sit, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area, at least once before you go in for an interview. You never know whether or not you’ll run into a delay or a surprise conflict will come up, so prevent the possibility of added stress by knowing exactly where you are going and how long it should take for you to get there.
DON’T: Forget to bring questions to the interview
While you might spend most of the interview talking about yourself, it’s vital that you bring a list of questions for the person who is interviewing you. You should bring questions about the company and the role you’re being considered for, but preparing questions that are specifically about the hiring manager and their career can prove highly beneficial. “Try to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn prior to the interview,” advises Jaimee. “Asking them questions about their experience and growth within the company show you’re truly interested in learning more about the organization.”