5 Tips for Instant Interview Success

How to make a fantastic first impression.

When it comes to creating a list of favorite things to do, rest assured that interviewing (and maybe negotiating to buy a car) has never made the list. However, few things have as much impact on your career options as your ability to interview well. Like it or not, acing the interview is a must if you want to get hired. Here are five tips for interview success:

1. Show up in the office five minutes before your appointment time. Although that sentence looks simple enough, it has two powerful and often overlooked components: “in the office” and “five minutes.” This does not mean park five minutes before the interview or get in the building security line with five minutes to spare. It means walk through the office or suite door five minutes before your appointment.

While it is crystal clear why running late or cutting it close are not good strategies, the same goes for walking into the office more than five minutes early. Not every company has a huge lobby or waiting area. Arriving too early may mean that you are staring at the person who will interview you and have now obligated him or her to start your meeting earlier than planned.

If you arrive earlier than intended, hang outside the building or even in the bathroom before your ideal time. The extra few minutes will give you time to prepare and ensure that you don’t impose on your interviewer.

2. Do not, under any circumstances, bring a coffee beverage to the interview. I know it is increasingly common to walk everywhere with some sort of coffee drink in hand, but never bring one to an interview. While you may get lucky and the interviewer or receptionist may offer you a coffee or water at the office, do not bring your own beverage.

It is, however, totally OK to have a small bottle of water neatly stashed in a briefcase or bag out of sight. Interviewing is nerve-wracking, and a well-timed sip of water can work wonders for dry, pasty interview mouth.

3. Look great. For you well-dressed people, I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes at those two words, because you assume everyone knows that. However, after interviewing thousands of people for more than 20 years, I can assure you that the majority of job seekers are not fully aware of the impact of their image.

Having a great image does not require expensive outfits. It means selecting clothing, accessories, makeup and a hairstyle that command respect in your targeted industry. To portray this image, you have to think about the fit of the clothes, make sure they are wrinkle- and stain-free, look modern and are both age- and profession-appropriate.

Also consider fragrance, or lack thereof. A very light neutral scent, like baby powder or vanilla, can work well, but anything stronger could be an issue if the interviewer doesn’t have the same preferences as you.

4. Arrive prepared. Bring a pen, notebook or portfolio with paper, several résumé copies and a list of questions you would like to ask the interviewer. Many interviews start first with a request for your résumé. Removing a neat, unfolded version from your notebook is an excellent first step.

Next, all interviewers like to know that they have said something useful enough for you to write it down. Jot notes throughout the meeting, no matter how positive you are that you will remember everything. Writing not only tells the interviewer you value her input, but it also gives both of you a break from staring at one another. Furthermore, it can give you a chance to glance at the notes you prepared before the meeting regarding key strengths you want to reference or questions you want to ask.

Finally, remember to look up at least as much as you look at the paper. Writing notes is important, but active eye contact tells the hiring authority you are paying attention.

5. Have a conversation. The best interviews are a give and take. Come prepared to discuss the company, the role, your background, current trends in the industry, the reason for the opening and any recent business events that may impact the interviewer, role, company or industry. Companies want to hire engaged employees who have taken the time to learn about themselves and the roles for which they are applying.

Without this critical preparation, most interviews are merely one-sided exchanges in which the interviewer asks questions and the candidate responds to the question but cannot expand beyond it. The ability to have fluid conversation conveys preparation, intelligence, people skills, active listening and a commitment to your career. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to display these traits in the meeting.

Interview selection is more about how the interviewer feels about you than about how well you can do the job. That is not to say that you don’t need to be qualified – you do need to be in the ballpark. However, many highly qualified people get rejected because they do not clearly convey how they are an ideal (and likeable) match for the role. While it is important to display your business qualifications, it is even more important to create the right impression.

Securing an interview is a significant accomplishment. Make the most of the opportunity by factoring in these tips for an instant boost in your next interview.

45 Ohio Fun Facts

1. Fifty percent of the United States population lives within a 500-mile radius of Columbus, Ohio.

2. Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was from Wapakoneta, Ohio.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

3. It is illegal to fish for whales on a Sunday in Ohio… not that there’s any place to do that. Well, at least you can fish for them every other day of the week.

4. Thomas A. Edison, the inventor of the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and the early motion picture camera, was from Milan.

5. Akron was the first city to use police cars.

6. Ohio has the largest Amish population of any state in the nation.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

7. John Lambert of Ohio City made America’s first automobile in 1891.

8. The first full-time automobile service station opened in 1899 in Ohio.9. Oberlin College, founded in 1833, was the first interracial and coeducational college in the United States.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

9. Oberlin College, founded in 1833, was the first interracial and coeducational college in the United States.
10. Seven United States presidents were born in Ohio: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William H. Taft, and Warren G. Harding. Must be something in the water.

11. There is an alley dedicated to drummer Dave Grohl in his hometown of Warren, Ohio.45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

12. The largest drum sticks in the world are in David Grohl Alley, each measuring 23 feet long and weighing a half-ton.
45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio
13. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton.

14. Women are prohibited from wearing patent leather shoes in public in Ohio. The reasoning? So that men can’t see reflections of the women’s underwear in their shoes. Obviously.15. Life Savers candy was invented by Clarence Crane of Garrettsville, Ohio in 1912. They were touted as a “summer candy” since they didn’t melt like chocolate.

15. Life Savers candy was invented by Clarence Crane of Garrettsville, Ohio in 1912. They were touted as a “summer candy” since they didn’t melt like chocolate.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio


16. Some well-known personalities were born in Ohio. Among them are Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, Annie Oakley, Arsenio Hall and Clark Gable.

17. It is illegal for more than five women to live in one house in Ohio.

18. The world’s largest horseshoe crab is more than 55 feet long, and lives in Blanchester.

19. Ohio’s state flag is not a rectangle like other flags—it’s a pennant design, and it’s the only state flag in the United States with that design.

20. By state law, no one may be arrested on a Sunday or on the Fourth of July in Ohio, which is totally awesome and definitely not enforced.

21. Roy J. Plunkett of New Carlisle, Ohio invented Teflon in 1938.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

22. You can take tours of a house made entirely of trash, affectionately referred to as ‘House of Trash’ in Philo. Spoiler: It’s actually totally cool.

23. There’s a mysterious rolling sphere in the Marion Cemetery. The 5,200-pound sphere of granite has been revolving on its base since it was placed there in the late 1800s. “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” featured it in 1929. It’s still moving at an average of two inches per year.

24. The first airplane was invented by Dayton natives the Wright Brothers.

25. The Great Serpent Mound, the largest serpent effigy in the world at a half mile long, is on a plateau overlooking Brush Creek Valley in Adams County.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

26. The largest, most comprehensive collection of historical contraceptives in the world is at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History in Cleveland.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

27. The very first mechanical cash register was invented in Dayton.

28. The first concrete street in America, which is still in use today, was poured in 1891 near the Logan County Courthouse in Bellefontaine.

29. If a restaurant wants to serve horse meat in Ohio, they must display a sign that says, “Horse Meat Served Here.” Thank goodness for that.

30. There is a double Futuro House, aka UFO House, in Carlisle.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

31. The first capital city of Ohio wasn’t Columbus—it was Chillicothe, which is now part of the Greater Columbus Metropolitan Area.

32. In 1879, Cleveland became the first city to be lighted by electricity.

33. Akron is the rubber capital of the world.

34. It is unlawful to leave chewing gum in public places in Cleveland.

35. “Hang On Sloopy” is the official state rock song.

36. Ohio is the leading producer of greenhouse and nursery plants.37. The Lake Erie Monster, aka “Bessie,” is a serpent-type monster that lives in Lake Erie, or at least it’s been sighted a lot over the last 100 years. The New York Times even did a story on it in 1931.

37. The Lake Erie Monster, aka “Bessie,” is a serpent-type monster that lives in Lake Erie, or at least it’s been sighted a lot over the last 100 years. The New York Times even did a story on it in 1931.

38. The Glacial Grooves on the north side of Kelleys Island are the largest and most easily accessible great ice sheet grooves in the world. They were created 18,000 years ago by the great ice sheet that covered part of North America.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

39. Dresden is the home of the world’s largest basket. It is located at Basket Village USA.

40. There is an ‘Unofficial Lego Museum’ in Bellaire and it has some of the coolest lego creations known to man.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

41. For many years the patrons of Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop in Greenville have been sticking their gum outside the walls. Three of the building’s four walls are covered in gum, creating the infamous ‘Wall of Gum’.

42. In Dublin there’s a public art installation called ‘Field of Corn (with Osage Orange Trees)’. By the locals it’s called ‘Cornhenge’ and features 109 ears of concrete corn that stand eight feet tall. It’s a tribute and celebration of Sam Frantz, who invented hybrid corn species.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

43. There is a permanent ‘Things Swallowed’ display at the Allen County Museum in Lima that featured things that have been swallowed and retrieved by doctors, including buttons, thumbtacks, bones, coins, dentures and other things swallowed.

44. There is a shrine called the ‘Temple of Tolerance’ in Wapakoneta, that looks like it should be somewhere sacred, but it’s in Jim Bowsher’s backyard. He’s the temple master and gives free tours every day.

45. Ohio holds the record for the world’s largest basket, the Longaberger Company headquarters building in Newark. It’s seven stories high and 180,000 square feet.

45 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

Top 25 Worst Passwords of 2015

When it comes to making up passwords, we’re not doing so great as a society.

“Password” and “123456” still claim the top two spots on the list, where they’ve remained for the past five years (we can’t say we’re too surprised). Simple numerical passwords remain an easy go-to; six of the top 10 passwords are comprised of only numbers.

You’ll also find that references to sports and pop culture are fairly common. “Football” and “baseball” are both in the top 10 list, and in line with the release of The Force Awakens, “starwars,” “solo” and “princess” are all new entries on this year’s list.

Several others that weren’t on the 2014 list include “welcome,” “login” and “passw0rd.” Changing that “o” in password to a zero might seem original, but a lot of people had the same idea.

If you see your password on this list, make your 2016 resolution to do better. In parentheses, we’ve noted how that password fared on last year’s list.

  1. 123456 (unchanged from 2014)
  2. password (unchanged)
  3. 12345678 (up 1 spot from 2014)
  4. qwerty (up 1)
  5. 12345 (down 2)
  6. 123456789 (unchanged)
  7. football (up 3)
  8. 1234 (down 1)
  9. 1234567 (up 2)
  10. baseball (down 2)
  11. welcome (not on 2014’s list)
  12. 1234567890 (not on 2014’s list)
  13. abc123 (up 1)
  14. 111111 (up 1)
  15. 1qaz2wsx (not on 2014’s list)
  16. dragon (down 7)
  17. master (up 2)
  18. monkey (down 6)
  19. letmein (down 6)
  20. login (not on 2014’s list)
  21. princess (not on 2014’s list)
  22. qwertyuiop (not on 2014’s list)
  23. solo (not on 2014’s list)
  24. passw0rd (not on 2014’s list)
  25. starwars (not on 2014’s list)

3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on Your Resume

1. Misspelling the hiring manager’s name.

First things, first: pay attention to spelling. If you misspell the hiring manager’s name, this might get your application tossed in the trash. If you can’t do a simple thing like take the time to make sure you are correctly spelling the manager’s name, this gives the impression that you’re generally careless and don’t pay much attention to detail. Why would a potential employer hire you if you can’t manage a simple task?

You have a very slim chance if you are careless enough to misspell the hiring manager’s name. It shows that you aren’t detail focused and aren’t putting much effort into the recruiting process. You could recover by giving a great interview, being a good fit for the position, and apologizing immediately.

If the hiring manager has a name that is spelled a variety of ways, misspelling isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. However, if there are multiple misspellings or typos in the résumé or cover letter, it is unlikely the hiring manager will seriously consider the candidate.

2. Failing to mention results.

It’s great to list your accomplishments, but without an explanation of how your efforts made a significant impact, it’s just filler. Instead of treating your résumé like a list, think of it as an explainer. Let your job history be a testament to how you get results. Show that instead of just doing your job, you were an agent of positive change and you made your organization more profitable, more productive, and an overall better place to work.

The biggest résumé mistake a job hunter makes is that they focus on the projects they did without mentioning the results of those projects. Companies are looking to hire low-risk candidates who can make an impact on day one. If you aren’t results focused and don’t have evidence that your work translates into business value, then you’ll have trouble getting a job.

3. Not including key words from the job description.

If you want your résumé to get a second look, you’ll want to make sure to include key words. Including key words will show that you understand what the job requires and that your skills are a good fit for the position. However, take care not to include too many.

Another reason you’ll want to include key words is that more companies are using automated methods to cull résumés. When you include target words, you can improve your chances of getting selected.

Having key words on your résumé is important because when you submit it to a job board or corporate website, a machine scans your résumé looking for key words. If your résumé doesn’t have those key words, you get filtered out immediately. I recommend that you include keywords from the job description on your résumé and align your skills and experience as closely as possible to the position.