Job interviews are a lot like blind dates. Even though you might only know a little bit about the person you’re meeting with you’re still hoping it could turn into something wonderful. You also want to make a positive first impression. Just like a date, the competition can be fierce. That other person will be looking for reasons not to date (hire) you. This is why you want to fortify your next job interview to make sure you don’t blow it. Here’s what you to do to bolster your prospects:

1. Turn Off Your Phone

How many times have you been in church or at the movies when someone’s cell phone goes off? Ironically, at the start of service or a movie you’re always reminded to turn off the cell phone but there are always those few who resist. Now, imagine you’re a boss considering a new employee who checks for texts during the interview. Even the constant beeping and vibrating would indicate to that potential employer that you might be spending too much time on that gadget. Not a good thing to have in an interview.

2. Do Your Homework

When you apply for a job, you’ll probably know a brief description of the job itself, the salary and work hours. Between the time you get that interview and the actual meeting, you should look into the company. The best place to start would be the official company website “About Us” page. Be sure to bring up the company’s history and aspects of their mission statement in the interview. This will demonstrate you’re already a team player.

3. Be On Time and Professional

There is no such thing as getting too early to a job interview. The more time you allow yourself to relax in the reception area, the better off you’ll be when you’re called into that meeting. Speaking of that reception area, you’re on notice the moment you walk in the doors. This is probably the best time to turn off your cell. You certainly don’t want to share your loud conversations with the receptionist. This will be your first test as to how professional you really are. Everyone will be watching and listening.

5. Go Ahead and Ask

There will come a time in the interview when you’ll be asked, “Do you have any questions?” Your answer should be, “Yes.” Then proceed to ask a few follow up questions or try to find out more about the company. This shows you’re engaged in the process and aren’t afraid of seeking out clarification. That tells your new boss a lot.

5. Keep It Short

As for your answers, you should keep them short. They don’t all have to “Yes or no” but they also shouldn’t be your life story. Remember, this interview is cutting into that employee’s day. Get out before you get into “trouble.”

Do you remember your last job interview?