By: Morgan Sheinberg Warren, Esq.
As a child your parents were always there with advice. “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” “Look someone in the eye when you talk to them.” “Sit up, don’t slouch.” Somehow it seemed that these words of etiquette wisdom were things you could figure out for yourself. The same story is told about interviewing for your next job. A recruiter will always be there with advice. “Have a firm handshake.” “Bring a copy of your resume.” “Don’t talk about politics, sex or religion.” After four years of undergraduate school, three years of law school and years practicing law, these are all things that you could figure out for yourself, things you do not want to be told, things you do not want to hear. Well, you would be surprised. What follows are a few pearls of wisdom from interviews gone awry. Are they warnings you should heed based on true interview experiences or merely far-fetched suggestions of what could go wrong? You decide.
- Be prepared – do your homework, think of some questions. Know about the company or firm you are interviewing with. If possible, find out who you will meet ahead of time and research their backgrounds. If there’s ever a lull in the conversation, you can create conversation with this information or ask the questions you have prepared.
- Turn off your mobile phone, your pager, your blackberry, your iPAQ, anything that buzzes or rings. And if by chance it does ring, DO NOT answer it!
- Dress professionally, for the job you want, not the job you have. Remember lawyers command respect so dress in a manner that shows you deserve it. So tuck in your shirt, shine your shoes and tone down your makeup.
- Be on time, and if for some reason you are running late, call and let the interviewer know you are on your way.
- Freshen up on the way. People remember the bad things – bad hair, bad makeup, bad breath.
- Skip wearing perfume or cologne. Not everyone agrees with your choice in scents.
- Do not discuss money at your first interview. Discuss your expectations with your recruiter and negotiate after you already have a job offer. Convince the interviewer you are the perfect candidate for the job and your bargaining power improves.
- Be gracious to your interviewer for their time. Thank you notes or emails are always appreciated when someone takes time out of their day to interview you.