By Mark Cenedella | The Ladders

  1. Research the company and be prepared with a “good” level of knowledge. You don’t need to know gross margins in the South-western region for the past 8 years, but you should know enough to show the interviewer that you respect the opportunity and you respect her or his time.
  2. Be on time, unflustered, with a clean, well-presented copy of your resume – I know this sounds simple (this is “101”, after all) but you would be surprised at how many people don’t leave 10 minutes early in order to get there 10 minutes early!
  3. Dress the part – business-like and professional, no matter how groovy the company is.
  4. Be kind to every employee you meet – the receptionist, yes, but also the parking lot attendant, the janitor, and the intern. You know, Southwest Airlines used to have the flight attendants on flights anonymously assess the candidates they were flying in for interviews – it just goes to show that you need to mind your manners all the time.
  5. Think of JFK – ask not what the company can do for you, answer instead “what can I do for this company?”
  6. This is not a filming of “Biography” on the A&E Channel, it is a sales presentation in which you are selling your capabilities to do a job for the company. Stick, mostly, to the business side and how you can solve problems. Don’t go into a half-hour long disquisition on the relative merits of Mozart and Beethoven, the reason you love/hate the Yankees, or the intricacies of your college rivalries. The interviewer does not want your life story, they want to know your business capabilities.
  7. “Bad mouth thee, bad mouth me.” Whenever you trash-talk your former or current employer, guess what the interviewer thinks? “Oh boy, if we hire this guy, I’m next on his firing line!” Never, ever, say bad, mean, unkind, or even true things if it makes you look like a prospective ingrate, gossip, or ne’er-do’well.
  8. Save the money talk for last. Focus on the job, your ability to contribute, and all the great things you can provide before reminding your future boss how much of the hiring budget you’re going to soak up.
  9. Thank the interviewer for their time and ask questions – again, this shows good manners and good sense.
  10. Send a follow-up e-mail – thank the interviewer again and reiterate (very briefly) what you discussed and how you can contribute. This serves as a good memory jog to the interviewer of your conversation and reminds them of the points you want them to make for you in the hiring meeting