Succeed in Your Job Interview With These Five Tips
Image via career-intelligence.com
The transition from college to the workforce can be fun and exciting but also stressful. You have searched for jobs for a period of time and now you have been selected for an interview. This is pretty exciting and a positive step toward gainful employment. Many things about looking for a job have changed but the interview process is still pretty traditional. Follow these 5 tips in order to ace that interview (READ: “What to Consider if You Plan on Going to Grad School“).
If you are new to interviewing, it is important to practice ahead of time. This is something that people have been doing for decades. Make a list of questions that you think you will be asked or that relate to your field or the company that you are applying to. Write them down on 3 x 5 cards and ask a trusted friend to help you practice. You may know all of the answers by heart but the way you present yourself in a job interview demonstrates a lot about your commitment so take at least 20 minutes to sit down and practice.
You should be highly prepared for your interview. Candidates who show up unprepared or who seem to be unprepared usually don’t get the job (READ: “Best Libraries in South Orange County for Studying“). Take some time to research the company that you are applying to and answer these questions before going to the interview:
What, specifically, will your job title require?
What are some of the other jobs and/or services offered by this company?
How large is the company? Do they have 5 or 5,000 employees?
What is the company’s history? How long have they been around?
What is the mission statement? What are the ideals that the company strives to meet?
Who runs the company?
Most importantly, ask yourself who will be interviewing you. (Hint: The answer is that it could be anyone. Be prepared to impress a person of any background, gender or age.)
These are not questions that you need to actually ask at the interview but ones that you should find out for yourself before going to the interview.
Always bring a hard copy of your resume to the interview as a courtesy even if the interviewer already has an electronic copy. Be prepared to provide at least two references.
3. Be Original
This, of course, is easier said than done. It is important nonetheless. Is there something that makes you who you are as a person? Is there something that would make you a uniquely good employee? If so, then make sure to present this at the interview. If you are applying to work at a veterinary hospital and you have volunteered as a foster kitten provider, be sure to mention it. If you are applying to be a web designer and you have a killer art portfolio, bring it to the interview.
4. Be Honest
Always be honest about your past experiences. Employers will always be able to check up on you through social media so make sure that you are honest about what jobs you have had in the past and how many years of experience you have. (Speaking of social media, now would be a good time to delete any photos that you don’t want the whole world to see.) I you are new to the job market talk about your volunteer experiences or your high school job. You can even bring up your extracurricular activities from your college days (READ: “How to Make Extracurricular Activities Extra Significant“) . If you coordinated movie night for the sociology job, talk about the planning and organizational skills that you used to plan this activity in your free time. It is not, however, necessary to mention that you like to go shopping with friends on the weekend or that you love scary movies. Your personal life is personal and should not be presented at an interview unless it directly relates to the job.
5. Say Thank You
Always say thank you. I can’t stress this enough. You have taken time out of your day which is why the interviewer will say ‘thank you for coming in today’. The interviewer has also taken time out of his or her day so you should thank them in return. The etiquette is as follows:
- Say ‘thank you for taking time out of your day to talk with me’ (or similar) upon completing your interview.
- Email the following day to say thank you in writing and ask the company if they would like any additional information from you. (Candidates used to send hand written thank you notes. If you can easily obtain a postal address [such as from the company website] then do this. Some employers prefer not to directly advertise their address these days and if this is the case then a follow up email should serve just fine.)
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