4 Qualities of a Good Employee

While every position requires different experiences, strengths and skills, there are certain employee qualities that are beneficial to any professional. When writing your resume or speaking to a potential employer, highlighting these qualities and giving examples of how they have benefited you in the workplace will give you a leg up on the competition. Additionally if you are a hiring manager, keep in mind these qualities to look for when hiring an employee.

1. Initiative

Taking initiative outside the set responsibilities of a position is an ideal quality to have as an employee. When hiring, employers want someone who can confidently complete their assignments, but they also want someone who will go above and beyond the call of duty.

2. Prioritizing

Being able to prioritize your responsibilities is another quality that makes good employees stand out in the workplace. An employer wants someone who can not only balance his or her many responsibilities, but also be able to recognize which ones are most important or time sensitive.

Businesswoman presentation organizational chart

3. Communication

Strong communication skills will help you no matter what job you are applying for. Being able to speak professionally, clearly, and politely will take you far as a professional. Also, having good writing skills is equally important. Clear communication of ideas and the ability to give instructions are some great qualities to look for when hiring employees and to have highlighted when constructing a resume.

4. Reliability

A potential employer wants to know that he or she can count on you to be there when they need you. An ideal employee quality is punctuality and having a solid attendance record. When an employer needs extra help, a reliable employee will step in and pick up the slack without waiting for instruction.
Highlighting these four key qualities on a resume or in an interview will definitely benefit you in your job search.
If you need help hiring or looking for work, reach out to our recruiting team at Whitman Associates to get started with us today!

Requesting Time Off From Work

PTO (paid time off) days are a perk most companies offer , but be strategic on how you use your time and how you ask. When requesting time off from work, be aware of your supervisor and coworkers schedules, and keep in mind how it impacts your responsibilities when someone else is out on vacation. Being upfront and conscientious about requesting time off ensures that you and your colleagues are able to be comfortable with the time taken away from the office. Check out our top tips for what to do and what not to do when requesting time off from work.

Vacation beach with palm trees

1. Give Notice

Give your employer plenty of notice before taking time off. How much notice to give for PTO? That’s going to depend on your workplace, but a good rule of thumb is a minimum of 2 weeks notice if you’re taking 1-2 days and a minimum of 1-2 months for 3+ days. If you try to request off without much notice, chances are your request will be declined.

2. Request in writing

Speak with your manager first any time you are interested in taking time off. One you’ve had that conversation, be sure to formally submit your time-off request in writing or via email – a verbal request can easily be forgotten. At some organizations, employees can request time off via their payroll portal (ie. ADP or Paycom). Follow the protocols of your organization, but be sure to keep a copy of your approval in writing.

3. Be considerate of your coworkers

Try to plan your vacations, trips, etc. taking into account your supervisors and coworkers’ schedules to avoid taking time off at the same time as the rest of the office. No one wants to be at the office holding down the fort when multiple people are out on vacation. If at all possible, try not to overlap your vacations with those of your coworkers.

Another great way to make your time away go smoothly when requesting time off work is to provide a plan for how your responsibilities can be covered. Helping set your colleagues up for success while you’re away will make everyone’s lives easier and will give you the confidence that your work is being handled appropriately.

4. Medical appointments

Try to schedule any doctor’s appointments, etc. during your lunch break, or at the beginning or end of the day, so that you don’t need to miss much work. No one wants to use their precious vacation time for appointments if you can help it.

5. Sick time

If your sick days are separate from your PTO days, try to save your sick days for when you are actually sick – you never know when/if you will need them. If you have all of your PTO days combined, try to reserve a couple in case you get sick, so you won’t have to take leave without pay.

packing for vacation

6. When starting a new job

Don’t request a lot of time off within the first 3 months of a new job. If you have previously planned trips that fall within that time span, let your employer know when you are going over your offer. Also, it’s a good idea to review the company’s PTO policy since some companies have a waiting period before benefits such as PTO kick in.

7. Holidays

Don’t assume that you have all federal holidays off. Review the PTO policy and clarify which holidays are observed, and which are not. All companies are different and outside of the federal government, companies observe different holidays.

Below are some examples of an in person and emailed time off request.

Time off request conversation example:

Hi [Supervisor], would you have a moment to discuss a time off request? I have [number] PTO days, and am hoping to take [number] of days off for [reason for request] in [month]. Let me know what might be a good time to discuss this further and to get something on the calendar. Thank you.

Time off request email example:

Hi [Supervisor],

As previously discussed, I would like to request to use my PTO to take off from [Date] through [Date].
I have prepared some notes regarding any active projects, and would be happy to go through them with the team in preparation for my departure.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to ensure everything is covered in my absence.
Sincerely,
[Name]

Make Sure Your Employees Dress For Success

Man in business suit buttoning jacket

As the world finally gets some breathing room following the pandemic, many businesses are struggling to re-establish office routines. Whether it’s redistributing workloads due to staff shortages or setting policies for remote work, there are ample new or revamped workplace expectations that must be addressed to ensure a well-running business. 

One common issue employers are struggling with is the employee dress code. Regardless of what type of business you run, your workplace needs to have a strong policy in place for employee attire. 

Why? Studies show that employees gain more respect from both their customers and their peers when they are dressed in an appropriate manner. Thus, it pays to make sure that your employees are appropriately dressed for your business needs.

Read on to find useful tips and tricks to make sure your dress code is appropriate and successful. Also, you can jump ahead to see our sample dress code reminder email to employees

Find the right fit

An appropriate employee dress code doesn’t have to mean formal business attire. Rather, it requires clothing that is appropriate for the type of business being conducted. If you are an attorney meeting with business clients or making a court appearance, a suit is appropriate (and, in some courts, it’s mandatory).

Even in a more casual environment, a dress code is a must. Take the retail store for example. Virtually all stores have some sort of dress code for employees. For some, like a retail clothing store, the attire likely matches the type of clothes being sold. It’s entirely appropriate for a men’s high-end suit shop to require its employees to also wear suits to work every day. However, a casual clothing store may require employees to simply wear jeans and a button-down shirt. 

For many businesses, the most practical option is a uniform. Whether the uniform is provided by the employer or simply dictated by guidelines depends on the specific needs of the business. An upscale restaurant may require all employees to wear black pants and a solid color shirt, but not be exacting about the style as long as they match the atmosphere of the venue; whereas a ski resort may provide shirts, hats, gloves, and ski jackets with the resort emblem on them so that employees are easily recognizable. For some businesses, aprons or t-shirts with business logos may be the most appropriate employee dress code option. Regardless of the specifics, dress codes involving uniforms mean customers will have an easy time identifying employees when needed. 

Coffee barista wearing apron while arranging cups

Other businesses may have a more strict employee dress code on most days, but allow more casual attire under certain circumstances. For example, casual Fridays are popular among many businesses as a way of allowing their employees to unwind at the end of the work week. Companies where employees seldom have client interactions may permit a business casual dress code and require more formal attire only during client interactions or special presentations. Regardless of how you structure your dress code, just make sure that it is appropriate for your business.

Ease into it

Before you send a dress code reminder email to employees, you need to have an established dress code. If you haven’t previously had a strict or well-established dress code, don’t simply announce it one day and expect it to be immediately followed. Rather, take steps to ensure employee buy-in. Conduct a survey to gauge employee feelings regarding the implementation of a dress code. Be sure to ask questions that highlight potential reasons for establishing a dress code. For example, inquire whether employees have ever been asked, “Do you work here?” and how often. Or ask if employees see the financial benefit in being provided with a uniform that they don’t have to purchase. By phrasing questions in this manner, you’re giving them the opportunity to see the benefit of a dress code, as opposed to focusing on the potential burden.

Another important step is to announce your new dress code and ease into implementing it, especially if you are going from a casual environment to one requiring more formal attire. Your employees will need time to build an appropriate work wardrobe. Consider creating a trial period when the code is in effect but there are no consequences for failing to adhere to the specifics. This allows time for employees to familiarize themselves with the code specifics and gives them time to purchase new clothes, if necessary. It also forgives potential forgetfulness for tenured employees who are used to the old dress code. Once employees have had the opportunity to get used to the code, you can make it mandatory going forward.

The devil is in the details

Make sure your dress code is clear and unambiguous. To do this, give a written policy to all employees, and require them to sign an acknowledgment that they have received and understand the policy. And make sure it is always available in the same location at your office. Once they understand the policy, it’s reasonable to occasionally send a dress code reminder email to your employees.

Ensure your policy contains sufficient detail through the use of examples. Don’t simply state that your policy is “business casual.” Give specifics of what “business casual” means. Likewise, give examples of what is not appropriate as well. Include an FAQ section that you update regularly as questions arise. It is entirely likely that if one employee has a question about the dress code, others do as well. 

Communication is key

Just a Reminder  During business hours, Whitman Associates employees are expected to be dressed and groomed in a professional and businesslike manner to reflect our Washington, D.C. location. Furthermore, studies show that employees gain more respect when they are dressed in a professional manner.  We need to keep in mind what is appropriate for Business Casual when your particular assignment permits Business Casual. Business Casual wear is NOT the same attire one would wear for the weekend or at home.

Consider having a meeting to go over expectations and allow questions. During the meeting, explain the dress code in detail, and make sure your employees fully understand the reason for its implementation. Also, clearly articulate the consequences for failing to adhere to the policy. 

A successful dress code policy will require periodic reminders of what your code entails, why it’s important, and how to address questions your employees may have. Send out a quarterly email dress code reminder to all employees, and consider some sort of reward system for employees who consistently follow the code, even if it’s nothing more than a simple email thank-you note.

Here’s an example of a clear and concise reminder email: 

Just a Reminder

During business hours, Whitman Associates employees are expected to be dressed and groomed in a professional and businesslike manner to reflect our Washington, D.C. location. Furthermore, studies show that employees gain more respect when they are dressed in a professional manner.

We need to keep in mind what is appropriate for Business Casual when your particular assignment permits Business Casual. Business Casual wear is NOT the same attire one would wear for the weekend or at home.

Examples of appropriate Business Casual attire:

Slacks, i.e. khakis, dockers and similar slacks

Button-up or polo shirts

Blouses

Dress shoes (not flip flops, athletic shoes, etc.) 

Examples of inappropriate Business Casual attire:

Jeans Shorts

Leggings

Tattered, tight, skimpy or revealing clothing

Tank tops, halter tops, midriff shirts

Athletic shoes

Loose footwear, i.e. sandals, flip flops, etc.

Any questions about attire should be discussed directly with Whitman Associates. Remember, you will be treated with more respect when you are appropriately dressed. As always, thanks for your cooperation and help in this matter.

With a little planning and strategic implementation, your dress code will be a success for your employees and your bottom line!

Creating Your Ideal Work Environment

Most professionals who work full-time office jobs spend the majority of their week sitting at a desk or in a cubicle. For this reason, it’s important to have an organized work space that encourages good habits and helps you maintain a positive attitude.

This can be even more important with the rise of remote and hybrid work. The ideal work environment can be difficult to achieve if your “home office” is a corner of your dining table. Regardless of where you work, creating a clean, organized work space benefits both your productivity and your mood. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for creating your ideal work environment.

woman working home office

1. Stay Organized

A disorganized mess on your desk can lead your thoughts to also be disorganized. Having an organized workspace can help you keep your mind organized.

2. Keep a pen and paper handy

You never know when you might have to jot down a few notes, so make sure you always have a pen and piece of paper readily available.

3. Post some motivation on your wall

Remind yourself why you are working so hard. Posting a picture of your dream vacation location or some other goal that you are working towards.

4. Leave a stack of your business cards out

This won’t apply to everyone, but if you work on-site this is always a good rule of thumb. You never know when the new boss might swing by your desk or when a client might come visit, so always have your business cards the ready.

5. Stay Inspired

There are lots of different ways to stay inspired at work. For some folks, achieving work goals can be inspiring. For others, it could be pictures of a favorite place, an inspirational quote or message that you keep in your work space to help you maintain your positive attitude. If you don’t always work in the same place, be sure to personalize your desktop background so you can stay inspired wherever you’re working that day.

6. Avoid distractions

While a stress ball is okay to have in your desk drawer, try to avoid having too many little toys or other distractions around. Even the smallest of distractions can end up sucking up too much of your time. Another distraction to be wary of is your cell phone, it’s all too easy to check a notification, and end up scrolling. To keep yourself organized within your work space, consider putting notifications on do not disturb so you won’t be tempted during your workday.

7. Surround yourself with familiar faces

Put up a few pictures of your friends, family, or pets. Smiling faces will be guaranteed to boost your mood during a long day in the office.

Organized desk with notepad and plant

8. Include some nature

Keeping flowers or a small plant on your desk can help to connect you with nature while you are cooped up in your office all day. Also there are studies showing that plants can help boost your mood by releasing oxygen and can absorb toxins in the air. What better way to achieve an ideal work environment than to actually feel happier at work!

We hope these tips help you set up your ideal work environment whether you’re in an office cubicle, a coworking space or your home office!

4 Ways to Learn QuickBooks Online

Looking for a job in accounting? Then you’re probably going to need QuickBooks. Whether you’re already well-versed in accounting or you’re just starting out, it makes sense to know how to use the most popular bookkeeping software. The good news is that you can learn QuickBooks bookkeeping online—without needing a specialized degree.

Tax withholding form and a coffee cup

Why is QuickBooks Important?

Before jumping into the details of how to learn QuickBooks online, it’s important to recognize why it’s advantageous to do so. The numbers tell the story: QuickBooks has 30 years of experience at the top of the industry with millions of businesses relying on the software. When you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping, you’re plugging into a massive network of accountants, small businesses, and individuals. 

Demonstrating a good understanding of QuickBooks is likely both the easiest and the best way to establish yourself as a knowledgeable prospective or current accountant. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get work as an accountant, but don’t know how to use QuickBooks, your job-seeking experience may be a long road. Now that you understand why QuickBooks is important, let’s go over four principles for how to learn QuickBooks online.

#1: Do Your Own Accounting with QuickBooks

The fastest way to learn QuickBooks is to use it! Explore the different functionalities of this important online tool with your own accounting needs. You can use QuickBooks to organize, prepare, and file your own personal tax returns. Especially if you do some odd jobs or freelance work on the side, you can discover many of the intuitive and useful features of QuickBooks on your own.

QuickBooks offers a free trial online, so even if you don’t plan to use it long-term for your personal accounting, you can give yourself a quick crash course. Practice makes perfect, and it’s best to jump in as soon as possible.

#2: Use the Provided Help Resources

Another great way to learn QuickBooks is to use the resources available directly from the source. Intuit, the parent company for QuickBooks, provides a variety of help resources that are accessible for you as a prospective or active user of the software. Inuit recognizes that many people look for how to learn QuickBooks online, so they provide that service as information that is easy to find. 

All QuickBooks online plans include a network of dedicated support, with expert agents that can help. QuickBooks Online for accountants includes advisory training with self-paced lessons. You’ll find plenty of help in a huge library of resources and webinars.

#3: Follow Online Tutorials

Intuit’s bookkeeping resources are great, but you may also find it helpful to get outside support. There are a variety of free or low-cost online tutorials available covering everything from basic onboarding to advanced nuances of QuickBooks. You can find the right fit for you with some quick Internet searches. Check out options like Udemy, Simon Sez IT, Fit Small Business, and more. You may prefer a service that walks you through step by step or one that provides you with learning you can complete on an as-needed basis at your own pace.

There are plenty of online tutorials and guides covering how to learn QuickBooks that do have a higher cost attached, which you are welcome to pursue if you find that level of support necessary. However, with so many resources available that have no or only a small cost, make sure you really need the extra layer before committing to the higher price tag.

#4: Watch Example Videos 

Not everyone learns best by reading. Especially if you’re having trouble understanding a help article, you can search on YouTube to likely find an explainer. Hector Garcia and BookkeepingMaster are two of the most popular and well-recognized YouTube channel sources for this type of service.

Seeing people use QuickBooks in action is a valuable exercise for you to engage in as you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping. Watching the specific tactics used to get through a challenge will help you apply not just those strategies but also that type of thinking to your own bookkeeping practices. Soon, someone will ask you how to learn QuickBooks!

Man using a calculator

Get Started with Whitman Associates

Of course, the whole reason you learn QuickBooks is to land a job. You don’t have to have Quickbooks mastered to jumpstart your work in accounting or an accounting-related field. Find temp opportunities that will get your foot in the door. Send your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com for the next step in your career journey.

Professional Networking on Social Media

Is Your Personal Account Really Separate from Your Professional Life?

It’s no secret that we live in the digital age. Well over half of the global population has a presence on social media, but many people believe that using social media professionally is totally separate from scrolling through your personal feed at home. For serious job seekers, though, social media for professional networking intersects with personal usage all the time.

A phone screen showing a few social media apps

Searchable Social Media Presence(s)

Even when you have your personal account set to private, certain pieces of data are still viewable. This includes your profile picture, how many posts you have, and how many accounts you follow. You—and potential employers—can tell a lot from a simple search.

In an article well before the pandemic, Forbes explained that “social media is a key player in the job search process today,” and “more than a third of all employers utilize these sites in their hiring process.” We can expect percentages to be much higher now, as employers and job seekers alike have grown more used to conducting business online and using social media professionally. The application of social media for professional networking is a common, even expected, facet of the workforce.

Employers commonly browse the social media of prospective employees, evaluating character and personality. This includes aspects such as whether the job seeker:

  • Maintains a standard of professionalism, including politeness and respect. For instance, a hiring manager may rule out a candidate if they see them make derogatory comments on Twitter. It’s best to always keep in mind that your social media is for professional networking, even when you think it’s a personal rant.
  • Seems like a good fit for the company culture. Companies often use social media as a tool for evaluating candidates’ behavior and preferences.
  • Has the qualifications appropriate for the position. Resume truth distortion is usually easy to spot through a quick social media search. Your presence on social media typically represents your actual employment and education history.
  • Demonstrates a genuine interest in and passion for their field. For example, a publishing company looking to hire a new marketing specialist will probably love seeing a candidate who has a clearly cultivated presence on Instagram where they review books.
A smiling woman seated at a table holding a notebook

Be The Best Version of Yourself

When considering your personal and professional social media, it’s most important to still be yourself online. When you try too hard to use social media professionally, perhaps liking every post from your dream employer, you may end up coming across as inauthentic.
Posting personal updates and pictures shows off your personality, but it’s best to consider a broad audience. The “Grandma Rule” is a good principle. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, don’t post it. Even if you have separate accounts, you probably have friends and family members following your professional account, or colleagues and classmates following your personal account. It’s best to assume that your coworkers will see your posts to err on the side of safety and professionalism.

The Connectivity of Social Media

It’s called social media for a reason. It’s fun to browse on TikTok or scroll through an Instagram feed, but even these platforms aren’t just or primarily for entertainment: social media is for professional networking. While LinkedIn is traditionally associated with networking, there are so many other ways to connect with peers, past employment sources, prospective colleagues and employers, and more. Connections across various social media presences often bridge the gap between personal and professional. Now, more than ever, we discover networking opportunities through our personal social media. 

Smart job seekers will maintain an active presence on social media, cultivating their participation to be both authentic and impressive. You can be the one to link others to prospective opportunities, like connecting a colleague with your own personal contacts, and see the same energy and benefit come back around to you. Through social media, you can make connections with people you would never otherwise know. There’s a potential opportunity for you to find your dream job through social media connections.

Use Social Media to Your Career Advantage

In conclusion, seeing your personal and professional social media presences as totally separate will not serve you well. Professional behavior matters everywhere. When you understand the intersection of personal and professional social media, you can use your presence on these platforms to your career advantage. Professional networking on social media is generally expected now, so don’t be afraid to try it.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, let Whitman Associates help you. We have contacts we would love to share with you. Simply email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com to get started.

Advice for Remote Interviews

If you are actively interviewing for jobs, part of the process is being prepared for remote interviews as well as in-person interviews. With online interviews being commonplace since 2020, there is no longer an excuse for not knowing how various web conferencing platforms work. It is your responsibility to be able to utilize the client’s chosen app for an online interview and have it functional ahead of time. The company you’re applying to most likely has a specific one they use for all their internal and external collaboration.

There are lots of different applications for online interviews; some major ones include Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, and Skype. You do not need to create an account for each of these apps as you will receive an invite provided by the company holding the interview.

Online interview app icons

Whitman Associates will assist any of our candidates with a trial run of the client’s application platform so that you may prepare the collaboration tools in advance. We want our candidates to focus on the interview when the time comes and not be frustrated by the tools. There are a myriad of video chat interview tips that exist online on preparing for phone and remote interviews, but here are some key points:

Choose the right environment for your remote interview

Your background on an online interview is important. Bright lights from windows behind you can cause video of your face to be dark. You certainly don’t want the background to showcase clutter, or personal spaces such as your bed or bathroom. It is best to sit in front of a blank wall or wall with minimal graphic distractions. You don’t need a fancy ring light, but you may need to turn on a light somewhere else in the room to insure your face is well lit.

The audio is critically important. Many people will tolerate bad video to a certain extent, but clipping audio and background noises make it impossible for you to convey important responses. You need to make sure the environment is free from background noises (mowers, air conditioners, bathroom showers, construction, etc.). Find a quiet room where the background noise is minimal. Having background noises will distract from your responses does not make a good impression.

Pick the best device for an online interview

Man and woman on video interview

The device you use for your online interview is very important. It is best to use a device with all the tools integrated such as a laptop, tablet, or phone. If you are using a desktop, you need to make sure all the external components work well together and within the application you are going to be using. A critical video chat interview tip to keep in mind is that your device may need to download a plugin or grant permissions to the application in order to interact with the microphone, video, and speakers.

The integrated microphone of a laptop, tablet, or phone may be sufficient; however, it is best to use a Bluetooth or wired headset. This will allow your voice to be clear, enable your hands to be free, and allow the camera to be placed at a distance from your face.

It is important to set the phone, tablet, or laptop down on a fixed surface such that it is not moving. It is incredibly distracting during remote interviews for the camera to be wobbling and not stationary while you’re trying to explain how you can contribute to the success of the organization.

If you need reference material (your resume, notes, or the company’s website), make sure this material is positioned directly above or below the camera. The client is interested in making eye contact and trying to get to know you as much as they can via video interview.

When taking notes, place your notepad directly below the camera so that the client can see that you are writing information down. It’s best to avoid typing your notes during your interview as the keyboard noise can be distracting and may lead the interviewer to think you’re doing something other than listening to their pitch – they are trying to convey how great their company is.

Be prepared!

There are many guides available describing how to prepare for an interview. A phone call, video chat, or remote interview is just as important as an in-person interview. In fact, it is more difficult to convey body language and capture voice inflections that might indicate your excitement for working with the company. Your goal is to make the next step or interview happen and to get that job offer.

WMATA Metro Commuter Tips

If you are one of the thousands who commutes via Washington D.C. public transportation, learn how to make your commute easier, safer, and all around more enjoyable by following the tips below:

dc metro station

1. Stand right, walk left

This rule of thumb applies to riding the escalators. If you are standing, stand to the right, this leaves the left side open for walking passengers to pass by you unobstructed.

2. Load your SmartTrip Card onto your phone

Don’t worry about keeping track of your WMATA metro card, just tap your phone for metro or bus fare!

3. If you’re using a physical SmartTrip, keep it handy

While you want to keep your SmartTrip card somewhere safe, you also want to have it easily accessible so that you don’t have to hunt through your entire purse or wallet to find it when exiting the metro.

4. Wear comfortable shoes

Commuting via Washington D.C. public transportation typically means that you will have to do a bit of walking to get to and from the station, so wear comfortable shoes and bring your work shoes in a separate bag if necessary.

5. Be considerate of priority seating

On both WMATA metro and buses there are seats reserved for the elderly, disabled, or pregnant. Be a conscientious commuter and be sure to free up those seats if someone needs them.

6. Hold onto your bags at all times

Holding onto your bags will not only protect you from theft, but it’s also considerate for other passengers to keep your bags off the floor and seats.

7. Report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags

WMATA Metro police request that passengers report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags they notice to a uniformed metro worker or police officer. This action will help keep you and other riders safe while on the metro.

8. Plan your trips ahead of time

If you are a daily commuter, you probably know what time your train arrives every morning, but it’s always a good idea to check for any delays or alerts before you leave the house to avoid any interruptions to your routine.

Interview Prep and Tips

While every interview situation is different, we have created an ultimate interview prep guide to help you learn how to prep for an interview and will increase your chances of impressing the hiring manager and successfully landing a job offer.
Women interviewing

  • One of the first interview tips is to always arrive on time. Plan to arrive ten minutes early for your interview. Potential employers will assume you have bad time management skills if you are late for a scheduled interview. This is almost more important with video interviews. If you have no commute or traffic, being late is inexcusable. Don’t forget to test out a video link prior to your interview, so there won’t be any technical difficulties to hold you up.
  • Talk positively about your former employer. Talking positively about a former employer will show loyalty and respect, which are both traits employers look for in potential candidates. If you didn’t have the best experience at your previous job, a good way to interview prep is to talk about the positive aspects, and frame any downsides in a respectful manner.
  • Another way to nail your interview prep is not to forget to bring a few copies of your resume with you. Even if you are not asked to bring a resume with you, you should always have a few copies on hand just in case you need them. If you are on a video interview, be sure to have your most up to date resume ready to share via email.
  • In interviews, you should avoid oversharing personal information. While it’s important to share your work experience and skills in detail, you should avoid talking too much about your personal life and opinions.
  • Another first interview tip is to get your interviewer’s contact information so you can follow-up. It’s always a good idea to follow-up after an interview with a note thanking them for their time and consideration. Be sure to get the hiring manager’s business card, LinkedIn or email.

two women job interview

  • You should make consistent eye contact with your interviewer. Displaying confident body language and making eye contact will help you further engage with the interviewer.
  • Avoid wearing a lot of cologne or perfume. As in-person interviews are on the rise again, you don’t want to aggravate your interviewer’s allergies or distract them with an overabundant fragrance.
  • It’s important to present yourself appropriately. This includes everything from dressing professionally for an interview, to choosing a neutral virtual background and good lighting for a video interview. Being dressed inappropriately or having your background be a distraction is one way to discount yourself from consideration.
  • Don’t be shy about conveying your interest in the company and position. Although you know you’re interested in the job, you have to convince the hiring manager. Potential employers want to see just how dedicated you are to working for them. Be sure to do your interview prep by researching the company, so that you can speak with confidence.
  • Avoid chewing gum, snacking, food or other distractions. Chewing gum during an interview is rude, and it can be distracting.
  • Our last piece of advice on how to prep for an interview is to remember to turn off your cell phone. You don’t want your phone ringing in the middle of an interview, so make sure you turn it off before the interview begins. Even silenced cell phones can vibrate or make noise, so turn your cell all the way off to avoid any unwanted distractions.

Being Punctual

man checking watch

Being punctual is a critical quality for any professional to have. While this may seem obvious, a lot of professionals struggle with being on time in this busy modern world. Even unemployed job seekers need to be aware of timeframes and deadlines when interviewing for and applying to jobs. For now, we will focus on the importance of being punctual for a job interview and provide some rules to help make sure you are always on time in the future.

Rule #1: Don’t be late.

  • If you realize ahead of time that you are running late for an interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know your situation. Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
  • In a tough job market, hiring managers have their pick when it comes to capable candidates. Even showing up five minutes late for a job interview could disqualify you for a position.
  • If a hiring manager can’t trust you to show up on time for an interview, they have no reason to trust that you will be on time for work or meet project deadlines.

Rule #2: Being too early is the same as being late.

  • Do not show up more than fifteen minutes early for a job interview unless you were otherwise instructed. Being punctual is better than being too early.
  • Showing up too early for an interview can make you appear desperate to hiring managers. Think of a job interview as a first date—you wouldn’t want your date to think you were overeager or desperate either.
  • The same as if you were late for an interview, a hiring manager will attribute you showing up a half hour early to your bad time management skills.

Rule #3: Know where you’re going ahead of time.

  • If you have time and are unfamiliar with the area, visit the company’s office prior to your interview so that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.
  • If you don’t have time to physically scope out your route, use the Internet to plan it in advance.
  • If you’re driving to your interview, make sure you know where you’re going to park. You don’t want to be late because it took twenty minutes to find a parking space.

Rule #4: Show up early, but don’t go in.

  • The best advice we can give you is to intentionally allow yourself extra time to get to your interview. Cautious planning will support you in being punctual even if you run into unforeseen trouble such as traffic or delays on public transportation. If you don’t hit any delays and end up outside of the office twenty minutes early, don’t go in! Find somewhere nearby you can kill time prior to your interview, such as a coffee shop or deli. Use the extra time to review your notes one last time.

Additional Guidance & Advice

At Whitman Associates, Inc., we’re rooting for you! Our goal is to help you find the perfect fit in your next job position. Being punctual is just one of many attributes that potential employers are looking for. For more insightful career advice, explore our blog for additional tips and guidance. Want some more personalized job hunting strategies? Reach out to us today!