By Heidi J. Voorhees, President, GovHRUSA

  1. Display sincere energy and excitement about the position. Lack of energy is the number one reason candidates do not get the job!
  2. Dress professionally for the interview. If you suspect the organization’s culture is more casual about dress, still wear a suit. Be well groomed including a professional haircut.
  3. When you enter the room, shake each person’s hand, smile, and make eye contact. Failure to make eye contact is the second most common reason candidates do not get the job. You have a short amount of time to connect with the interviewer(s).
  4. Anticipate the questions you might be asked and practice your answers. Questions regarding why you are interested in the position, your management style, or your strengths and weaknesses should not be a surprise to you. The best way to answer the “weaknesses” question is honestly. Then, follow up with how you are addressing that gap in your experience.
  5. Do your homework on the position. Research the website, the newspaper articles, etc. This is easier than ever before to do and interview panels can tell when a candidate has not done their homework.
  6. Keep your answers succinct and address the question. If you have to ask “did I answer your question?” most likely you did not. You can ask if they would like you to elaborate on any part of your answer.
  7. Have a pad of paper and pen with you, preferably in a portfolio. Interviewers often like to ask multi-part questions. Jot down the various parts and then be sure you answer them.
  8. If you are reminded of time constraints, chances are your answers are too long. Heed the warning and shorten your answers. Taking corrective action impresses interview panels.
  9. Consider leaving the panel with a one page list of your accomplishments or some other work product relevant to the position. If you are in a second interview, consider the development of a “transition plan” that indicates how you would get started if you were selected for the position.
  10. If you want the job, ask for it! Again, interview panels want candidates that are excited about working for their organization.