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Author: Cliff Mintz

Most job seekers understand that a job interview can be very stressful and emotionally draining experiences. After all, how you perform in a face-to-face job interview will likely determine whether or not you get a job offer. To that point, we provide below some tips to pull off a successful face-to-face job interview.

Professional Attire is Mandatory

In general, most scientists do not like to dress up. However, professional attire for both women and men is required for ALL face-to-face job interviews. This means suits and ties for men (no exceptions) and similar professional attire for women. First impressions do matter and a professional, well-polished appearance will help set a positive tone for the job interview.

Be Prompt or Arrive Early

Ideally, you should arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early for an interview. This allows you to relax and compose yourself prior to the start of the interview. Tardiness implies that time management—required by all employers may—be challenging for you.

Bring Extra Copies of Your Resume

Interviewers sometimes “misplace” or have not read your CV prior to the interview. Rather than spend limited interview time reviewing information that is readily available on your CV, hand the interviewer a copy of your CV. This will save precious interview time and signal that you are organized, forward-thinking, reliable and helpful; desirable traits that most hiring managers are looking for in new hires.

Be Personable and Always Remain Positive and Upbeat

One-on-one interviews are an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are socially-engaged, personable and have reasonable interpersonal communication skills.

Regardless of what is going on in your life, it is important to be positive, upbeat and outgoing during a job interview.

Eye Contact is Imperative

A lack of eye contact (or an inability to look directly at a person during a conversation) may signal to a hiring manager that they lack social and interpersonal communication skills, both of which hiring managers are looking for in right fit job candidates.

Answer All Questions Concisely and Honestly

It is not a good idea to waste an interviewer’s time with answers that are rambling, unfocused or irrelevant. Most interviewers expect direct, concise and well-thought-out answers to their questions. They are not interested in chit chat, professional gossip or who you may know in the field.

Never Interrupt an Interviewer

Interrupting anyone before they finish talking is rude, inappropriate and unprofessional.  Therefore, it is imperative to never interrupt an interviewer and allow him/her to complete a question before you answer. This signals to the interviewer that you listen, can engage in a professional conversion and implies that you will likely fit in to the organization’s reporting structure.

Act Professionally at All Times

Job candidates frequently eat breakfast, lunch or dinner as part of the interview process for life sciences jobs. Viewing candidates in these settings offers prospective employers’ insights into a job candidate’s social skills and how he/she may represent the organization in future social situations. Remember, although it may feel as though you are in a social setting, you are still being scrutinized by your host for professional behavior.

Ask Questions

Prospective employers expect job candidates to ask questions about their company or organization. This shows them that you have done your homework and are interested in learning more about the organization. Employers generally view job candidates as not being interested in a company if they don’t ask any questions during a job interview.

Never Criticize or Say Anything Negative

The scientific community is a small one and chances are that any negative, pejorative or derogatory comments made about an individual or organization will get back to them. Also, like it or not, it is simply unprofessional to say negative things about a previous or current employer, colleague or organization.  Again, nobody wants to work with a naysayer or an indiscrete or inappropriate colleague.

Turn Off All Cell Phones

Surprisingly, many job candidates don’t remember to turn off their mobile phones or other electronics prior to the start of an interview. Nobody likes being interrupted during a conversation or a discussion by annoying, ringing or vibrating cell phones. While being connected at all times is de rigueur, a ringing cell phone during a job interview can certainly be a job killer.

While there is no way to eliminate the anxiety or uncertainty of a face-to-face job interview, making use of the tips and suggestions offered in this post may make your next job interview less stressful and hopefully increase the likelihood of a job offer.