You can never be fully prepared for an interview!
Now, I will say state this hypocritical fact. Unless there’s a medical condition behind it, a limp fish handshake does give me the impression of a meek person. If the position I’m hiring for requires someone who won’t back down from pressure, then you may not be the person I consider.
I’m told I should practice and practice and practice my interviewing technique so I don’t appear nervous.
What’s wrong with appearing nervous? It’s a normal reaction. I’d much rather you be yourself than some rehearsed version of yourself. Some people might not be able to tell the difference but I can. I’m much more interested in how you think on the fly than I am in listening to a prepared sales speech. Also, think about this aspect: There are a lot of IT managers who are nervous themselves as they conduct interviews. Your ultra-calm exterior could have the opposite effect and actually make the interviewer feel more nervous. So, later, when he’s considering the candidates, his gut reaction may be that you were the one who made him nervous.
I should make myself memorable by mentioning some of my interests.
That’s fine as long as anything you mention is not political or religious in nature, something that may inadvertently insult some belief of mine that you have no idea about, or indirectly reveal something like your age, marital status, sexual orientation, or anything else that I am prohibited by law from asking about. In all honesty, except for the legal part, I don’t let extraneous details about someone influence my decision to hire them. I don’t care if you telecommute from Mars, as long as you can do the job well. But don’t assume every interviewer will feel that way. I once worked with a manager who threw a candidate out of consideration because she mentioned she hated cats. Bizarre, but it happens.
So let’s hear from other managers. Do any of you have any interviewing quirks that no self-help career course could prepare someone for?
Toni Bowers is the Head Blogs Editor of TechRepublic. She has been in the publishing industry for 20 years, with concentration in IT-related topics. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.