Whether you are interviewing for a part-time job in high school or a full-time job after graduation, there are certain guidelines that you should follow during an interview to leave the best first impression possible. Use these tips at your next interview to demonstrate to a potential employer that you are professional, confident and the perfect candidate for the position.

Timeliness

When you have an interview, arriving ten to fifteen minutes early shows that you are well-prepared and have good time management skills. Once you have set up the interview, it is a good idea to plan how long the commute will take. You should allow at least fifteen minutes for any traffic jams, accidents, or other delays that could make you late to your interview. Arriving late makes you appear disorganized and inconsiderate.

No cell phones

It may seem like simply lowering the volume button of your cellphone will be enough precaution to take when going into an interview. However, is the risk that your cell might ring during the interview, worth missing out on a potential job opportunity? For this reason, it is best to leave your cellphone in the car for the duration of your interview.

Respect the employees

Just because a receptionist will not be directly interviewing you for your job, does not mean that a hiring manager won’t ask for her first impressions of you. As a rule, you should be kind and courteous to any employees you may encounter prior to an interview, regardless of the position you are applying for. You never know if this person will have a say in whether or not you get hired.

Dress for success

Even if you are interviewing to work in a casual environment, it is important that you dress professionally. For men, this can include dress slacks, a button up shirt and tie, or even a full suit. For women, this includes suits, skirts, and dresses. This will show an employer that you are well put together and care about your personal presentation. DO NOT wear too much cologne or perfume, in case a hiring manager has an allergy.

Act with confidence

Speaking clearly, sitting up straight, and maintaining eye contact with everyone in the room will be a great way to demonstrate your confidence to an employer. It is a good idea to use the name of the interviewer every now again to show that you are still engaged and attentive.

Saying thank you

You should thank your employer two times, once directly after the interview, and once before you have left the building. A simple thank you will look like this: “Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.” Once you have left the interview, you should send a thank you note by mail or e-mail within 24 hours. This will not only demonstrate your appreciation for the opportunity, but it can also be a chance to briefly reiterate your skills and qualifications for the position.

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