This week’s post will touch on the importance of being your own brand ambassador at all times. This means maintaining a standard of professionalism, and being thoughtful about how you would like to be perceived. Although your work is a critical part of hiring decisions, personality, communication and presentation can be make-or-break factors.
What to wear
Deciding what to wear for an interview can be telling of whether or not you understand the company culture of where you are interviewing. You need to gauge for yourself what kind of company this is: is it a suited up environment? Is it a relaxed environment? However, no matter the dress code, you need to present yourself in a way that is representative of your unique style and aligns with the brand you are interviewing for. You should be polished, since it is above all else a professional encounter.
What to say
The best types of interviews are ones that flow easily like a conversation, and are focused on your skillset and strengths as a candidate for this role, and why you want to work for that company. This is a sign that the interview is going well. HOWEVER, do not let it get too casual! It will be tempting to start going off on complete tangents, or making jokes or comments that may not be interview appropriate. Stay away from these kinds of comments, if you feel at ease with your interviewer that’s great, but don’t get too comfortable! And remember, keep it professional, which means no bad-mouthing your previous employers. It doesn’t matter how negative your experience might have been, highlight the positive aspects of your experience there, and give a reason for leaving which has more to do with personal and career growth, NOT a reason which has to do with why you dislike your current employer.
The follow up
I cannot stress enough the importance of following up. It is something that is so quick and easy to do, but if you don’t do it, it can hurt the hiring manager’s impression of you, even if the interview went really well. It is always a good policy to include at least one concrete thing that you talked about during your interview in your thank you note. This shows that the conversation you had was memorable and meaningful to you. For more tips on the follow up, check out my colleague Rachel’s post “The Ultimate Thank You – Why Following Up Is Important.” My advice: send out the follow up thank you email as soon as possible, you want to show the hiring manager that you really want this, and it keeps you top of mind.
So remember, dress the part, talk the talk, and always always ALWAYS follow up!