Is there an interview on your horizon? If so, make sure take a common sense approach to making a good impression by utilizing three essential P’s: preparedness, positive attitude and professionalism. There won’t be much you can add to your skills and experience prior to the interview but you can control how prepared you are coming into the interview, the attitude you convey, and your appearance and demeanor.
First, spend as much time as you can to not only learn about the organization but also the people conducting the interviews. Most companies have their own websites that provide a wealth of information but you can also use resources such as Linkedin, Facebook, Hoovers, Yahoo Finance, etc.
I am always amazed to hear feedback from employers that a candidate appeared aloof or even negative during an interview. Keep in mind, you are going to work with these people and they do not want someone who is going to bring down the office moral. It is okay to show some excitement and genuine interest in the opportunity. Everyone has negative work experiences in their past but if you are forced to talk about it, then try your best to put a positive spin on the event – you can always chalk it up to a learning experience.
Finally, everyone has the ability to convey a sense of professionalism. It starts with your dress and grooming (always error on the side of being too formal) and continues with good manners (sit up straight, look the person in eyes, etc) and proper speech/conversation (don’t get too comfortable). Not talking back seems obvious but can be an easy trap if the interviewer is questioning your experience, etc. If this happens to you, then politely address their concern the best you can and then move on. Your tone can end up being more of an issue in the end than the concern called into question.
Some things will be beyond your control during an interview so why not give yourself the best opportunity to make a good experience employing the three P’s – all of which are within your control.