If you are job hunting, chances are you are going to encounter an HR interviewer at some point. Not all job interviews start with the HR interviewer. In some small companies, you will likely interview directly with the boss or with your prospective supervisor. But in many companies, you will first encounter an HR interviewer before interviewing with the folks you will actually be reporting to. That said, the HR interviewer is critical to your success because if you can’t get past them, you will never get an interview with the real boss. Here are some tips to help you to impress the HR interviewer:
- TAILOR YOUR RESUME TO THE JOB BEFORE SENDING IT
Before you get the invitation for an interview, you have to impress the HR interviewer with your resume. The way to do that is to make sure that your resume is tailored to the job that was advertised by the company. That means that you need to take your basic resume and add or subtract a few things to make your resume sound “tailor-made” for the job you are after. This may sound manipulative, but it is not. Everyone does this because they understand the dynamic going on with job interviews. HR interviewers are always looking for the “keywords”. They don’t have time to comb through thousands of resumes, so they keep an eye out for keywords that are tailored to the job. So, if you want to impress an HR interviewer, the first thing is to make sure your resume is tailored to the job.
- SEND A COVER LETTER
You should also send a cover letter with your resume. Many people don’t bother with this step because they are either lazy or they are unaware of the impact a cover letter can have with an HR interviewer. Make the decision to always include a cover letter with any resume you send out, unless the ad specifically says you should not send a cover letter.
- RESEARCH THE COMPANY BEFORE SHOWING UP TO THE INTERVIEW
Quite often, when you interview with an HR interviewer, it is for a specific job that you saw advertised. The interview could have been solicited directly by the company, or by a job agency that sends you to the interview. Whatever the case may be, the chances are very good that you know the company you are going to interview with before you show up. This means there is no excuse not to research the company before you show up to the interview. It does not have to be a thorough audit of the company’s financials, but you can at least visit the company’s website and read the “about us” page. This will tell you enough for most basic interviews. Under some circumstances, you may want to delve deeper, but it is usually enough to at least read the “about us” page. (And find a way during the interview to let the interviewer know that you have done your homework.)
- PREPARE YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH AND BYLINE WHEN THE INTERVIEWER ASKS YOU TO TELL HER/HIM ABOUT YOURSELF
The interviewer is going to ask you to “tell me about yourself”. You can guarantee it. So why show up to the interview without preparing an answer to this question? It is inexcusable to draw a blank when an interviewer asks you to “tell me about yourself” because you know beforehand that this will be one of the first questions the interviewer asks. You can totally predict this. Therefore, you should practice your answer ahead of time. It does not hurt to prepare an “elevator pitch” about yourself, and a byline too.
- THINK ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL HYGIENE ON THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW
Do not neglect your personal hygiene on the day of t interview. You should absolutely take a shower the morning of the interview, and use personal care products like deodorant, lotion and toothpaste. It is okay to use light perfumes and colognes but consider that some people could be allergic to these things, and if your interviewer is allergic to your scents, you may not get the job. So, to the extent that you have a neutral odor during the interview, the better. But achieving a neutral odor is easier said than done. Because neutral does not mean you leave out personal hygiene for fear that the interviewer might smell your deodorant. On a certain level, it might be better to smell like deodorant, than to smell like you are not wearing any. The ideal is not to smell at all. But barring that, try to have a pleasant odor during the interview. (And comb your hair!)
- SHOW UP ON TIME (not to early or too late)
Show up on time for your interview. Lateness is not appreciated when you are trying to find a job. Sure, you always hear of the odd person who was late to the interview and who nailed the job exactly because he or she showed up late. But that is the exception, not the rule. It is better to show up on time, or at least 5 minutes ahead of the time.
- MAKE EYE CONTACT AND GIVE A FIRM HANDSHAKE WITH THE INTERVIEWER
The job interview is not the time to be shy. To impress the HR manager, be assertive and show that you have confidence and energy. Make eye contact. Shake hands firmly. Smile. Exude positivity, confidence and congeniality. Getting the job is all about the attitude you exude when you meet with the HR interviewer.
- BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BODY LANGUAGE THROUGHOUT THE INTERVIEW
Your body language is very important. During a job interview, watch your body language. This is important throughout the entire interview. Things such as frowning, slouching, over-using your hands when you speak, speaking too loudly or too softly, scratching, etc., can have an impact on the image you project.
- PREPARE AT LEAST 3 GOOD QUESTIONS TO ASK
Just like you should prepare answers to questions from the HR interviewer, you should also prepare questions to ask the HR interviewer. When the HR interviewer asks you “do you have any questions for me,” don’t be caught saying “no, everything is pretty clear.” That is an okay answer, but it is not as good as saying, “in fact, I do have 3 questions for you.” The latter answer will intrigue the HR interviewer. He or she will become alert, maybe even nervous. The key here is to ask thoughtful and intelligent questions, not questions that will stomp the interviewer. The interviewer is not your enemy or opponent, so don’t let him or her feel stupid or incompetent, or uninformed. At the same time, show that you have thought about the job, and that are you are really interested in it.
- GIVE OFF POSITIVE VIBES (LET THE INTERVIEWER THINK YOU ARE EASY TO WORK WITH)
To impress an HR interviewer, you need to give off good vibes. If the interviewer does not like your vibes, you are not going to get the job. Quite often, the HR interviewer is a buffer between you and other interviewers who you will be working directly with. If the HR interviewer does not like your vibes, you will never get to interview with these other people. So, it is vitally important that you give off positive vibes with the HR interviewer. He or she needs to believe that you are easy to work with and that you will be the perfect fit in their organization.