It can be tricky to prepare for interviews, and there is a lot that is out of your control. There are some no-brainer tips that you may not realize may help you make a better impression with the employer. Shara Senderoff, co-founder & CEO of Intern Sushi, an early-career website that directly connects aspiring professionals with top executives, has a lot of experience interviewing millennials for both internships and full-time jobs. Eighty percent of her employees are younger than age 25. Based on interviews she's conducted, she has the following tips to improve your chances to make a good impression:
1. Don't appear blasé about the position. While you don't want to appear overly eager and desperate for the job, make sure you act interested in the position and the organization. Whether or not you've always wanted to work at the organization where you're interviewing, if you are spending the employer's time and your own on a discussion, take it upon yourself to do some research and learn about the company and the job. You want to appear reasonably interested and engaged at the interview.
2. Watch what you wear. Senderoff recounts the story of one candidate who came in to interview for an internship wearing a miniskirt and an extremely transparent shirt. "When I want to greet her in the lobby to bring her back for the interview, I couldn't help but give her an appalled look," she says. "She clearly noticed my disgust and apologized profusely as she 'thought she was interviewing with a guy' because my male assistant was scheduling the interview time with her."
No matter who interviews you, showing too much skin is likely to result in you being remembered for the wrong reasons.
3. Don't embellish skills on your résumé. You will get caught. One thing that will annoy employers more than anything else is finding out that a candidate brought in for special skills does not actually have those skills. Senderoff explains: "I once brought in a candidate because her résumé said she was partially fluent in Chinese and I thought this would be a valuable skill for the position I was looking to fill. When she came in for the interview it was the first thing I asked about. It turns out, from what I found out within the first minute of speaking to her on our walk from the lobby back to my office, that all she could actually say in Chinese was 'hello,' 'thank you' and maybe if I was lucky, count to five."
Of course, that interview was dead in the water the minute it started. Once a candidate reveals he or she is dishonest or has exaggerated his or her skills, there's not that much more to say.
4. Don't over share about your personal life. Keep in mind, especially when discussing a negative about your candidacy, "less is more." Senderoff once had a candidate who when asked about a noticeable year lapse in work experience, responded by going into much too much detail about a bad personal situation. "Note to candidates: if you are discussing your personal drama in an interview with the boss, it's a red flag," Senderoff says.
5. Don't leave without asking questions. A lot of employers will end an interview by asking if there's anything else you'd like to share about yourself or why you'd like the position. Senderoff suggests: "Do not say 'No, I think we covered it all,' because you feel like you don't want to take up more of their time or because you think it's more polite. They wouldn't ask if they didn't want to see how you'd handle the question."
She offers one tip you may not have considered: Did the interviewer say something about him or herself? If so, use this as a way to relate it to something similar that you do or believe in. Use the opportunity to give yourself a better chance to land the position.
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media strategist, speaker, résum é writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She is the author of three books: Social Networking for Business Success, Social Networking for Career Success and 100 Conversations for Career Success. Quoted by CNN, The Wall Street and Forbes, among other outlets, Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to reach their goals.