When two candidates with comparatively equal knowledge, skills and abilities are competing for the same position the one who handles this meeting the best will get the job. In fact, it’s not unheard of for a lesser qualified candidate to win the job simply because she interviewed better than more qualified candidates.
In this crucial first meeting between you and the hiring authority decisions are based on:
- How well you relate to the hiring authority
- Your personal presentation
- How well you handle the questions
- How well you meet the position requirements.
In that order!You have complete control over how you behave, how you’re groomed and the information you share. Little things may not work for you when right but they will definitely work against you if wrong. Putting your effort into getting them right will give you an employment edge.
Here are some handy tips:
Do arrive on time. Some experts recommend arriving 15 minutes early. I agree that it makes sense to insure you’re not late. If you are early take that time to visit the facilities and check your appearance.
Do treat everyone you come into contact with at the company pleasantly and respectfully. At my staffing firm the front desk person had input on every potential new hire. Being rude or short with anyone is self defeating.
Do take at least two clean copies of your resume (on good quality paper);a copy of the job description; something to write on / with; a separate sheet of paper with your employment references and your list of possible questions to ask. If you don’t have a professional looking pad holder use a file folder to hold these things.
Don’t bring up the Pay Rate subject. You should have determined whether the hiring range was within your acceptable limits before getting to this meeting. The party that raises the question of pay first from that point on is in the weakest negotiating position.
Don’t ask about vacation time or other benefits in this first meeting. This information may be offered but don’t ask if it isn’t.
Your goal at a first interview is to either make the hiring authority want to hire you or make it to the next round of meetings. You must also determine whether the position is a good fit for you.