September 12, 2013, 2:03 PM —
Image credit: flickr/ann-dabney
You go to your interview, get in the room and sit down. Your interviewer offers you a drink and you automatically decline with a, "No, thank you. I'm good."
You've just made your first interview mistake.
So argues The Daily Muse's Mitch Fortner, who says you should accept that drink for several reasons.
First - free drink! But, more importantly, graciously agreeing to that kind offer will put you at ease and set the tone for a friendly, relaxed interview.
"Saying 'Yes, I’d love one, thank you,' is the natural thing to do. When you visit a family member or friends house, you have no problem accepting a refreshing glass of water or whatever Grandma has available," he notes. "And doing the same with the interviewers will show them that you’re comfortable enough to spend 40+ a week with them. Remember, your goal is to be relaxed and comfortable so you can show the best you."
Also, from a physiological standpoint, you may need a drink in about a half-hour if you're going to be talking nonstop.
Other interview tips:
Don't save your questions for the end
Don't wait for the classic "So, any questions?" wrap-up. Fortner says to leave "housekeeping" queries (such as next steps in the process, decision timelines) for that.
"During the interview you should be engaged in discussion. So, weave your questions in naturally, as the topics come up," he advises.
Know whom you're talking to
Your interview answers should differ depending on the person with whom you're speaking. If it's upper management, Fortner says candidates should realize those are big-picture people. Instead of excessive detail, share overarching goals or accomplishments from past jobs.
If you're meeting with your potential manager, that’s when you want to talk about day-to-day responsibilities and why you're the best person for the job.
If peers are in the interview, Fortner says you should not try to impress them.
"Your potential co-workers are interested in how you coming on board will make their lives easier. If someone mentions a task your future position handles, show how you could fill that role — but in a way that tries to relate, rather than impress," he notes.