Mastering the Interview Part 3: Face to Face Interview

By Debra Wheatman

On March 19, 2013

In Interview Tips


Your résumé survived the screening, you made it through the Skype interview, and now you have a face-to-face interview. You think to yourself, “This should be easy, I know that I am qualified.”  If it’s so easy, then why is the face-to-face interview such a nerve-racking experience?

In part three of the Master the Interview series, we will break down the mechanics of the face-to-face interview.  

Common Courtesies

These may seem like little things; however, if you miss one of these courtesies it can tip the scale in your competition’s favor. 

  • Arrive ten minutes before your scheduled interview time. If the area is unfamiliar, take a test drive the day prior so you don’t get lost and know where to park. No matter what your means of transportation (personal car, subway, or a taxi), allow extra time for things beyond your control.
  • Don’t ask for reimbursement of any travel or parking expenses, including asking for parking validation.
  • Smile and be pleasant to everyone that you encounter.  Oftentimes an executive will ask the receptionist how the candidate treated him.
  • Do not accept an offer of food or beverage, unless you are meeting over a meal. The exception is to always accept a glass of water. You may need a sip if your throat gets dry. 
  • Do not chew gum.
  • Say “thank you” to anyone who seats you, opens a door for you, brings you water, etc.

Appearance & Body Language

The interviewer’s first impression of you is visual.  Dress sharp, groom yourself meticulously, and wear little or no cologne. Take care that your shoes are shined perfectly and your briefcase or business bag is not overly-stuffed or in poor condition. Extend your hand and offer a firm handshake. When seated, lean slightly forward. Avoid fidgeting or tapping your feet. Don’t touch your face. With a pleasant, professional appearance and body language, you will not distract the interviewer from delivering your key message.


Mirroring & Active Listening

One way to connect with another person is to mirror her speech volume and pace.  You don’t want to mimic a person’s accept or style.  However, if the interviewer is talking especially fast, you will need to keep up. The exception is an interviewer who is very dry or lacking in energy. That could be an interviewing tactic.  In that case, stay positive and upbeat.  Active listening involves acknowledging the interviewer with nods and eye contact. Take notes selectively.  Be sure to use the interview’s name to establish rapport. Bella Shaw, former CNN anchor, advises, “Do not to make the mistake that the interviewer is your buddy. This is serious business.” You want to connect and be amicable, but you need to keep in mind why you are there. Never ever use foul language during the interview – even if the interviewer is doing so.

The face-to-face interview is your time to make an important connection and continue to communicate your message.  Practice interviewing with friends until you are comfortable. Be confident and stay on message and soon you will be moving on to the final round of interviews and a job offer!

Quick Tip

Make sure that you know the next step in the selection process before you leave the interview. 

We hope you enjoyed part 3 of our Mastering the Interview Series. Please take a look at the rest of the series.

Part 1: Crafting & Delivering Your Message

Part 2: Skype & Distance Interviewing 

Part 4: The Final Round

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