Over the years, I have had many opportunities to not only be interviewed for careers, but to interview others seeking employment. It is your one opportunity to make a good impression on those who may potentially hold your dream and economic well-being in their hands. Securing the right job may determine where you live, what you drive, your credit score and who you marry. But no pressure. I have compiled a list of things you should and should not do not only during your interview, but before and after.
When searching for a job, take note of your passions and interests. Gravitate toward those positions that align with your talents. In short, look for a job you can envision working for free and get paid for it. You will have to rely on that passion during the tough days at work.
Study the requirements and qualifications for the posted position carefully. Update your resume regularly as each day brings you more experience and knowledge. Take advantage of training opportunities whenever possible, regardless of your current skill level. These additional skills may be the edge you need to secure the position over the other candidates.
Research the company and its history. All of the information you need is at your fingertips. Searches are tools that can be used for more than finding the best price on items or finding former classmates. During an interview, many companies ask candidates how much they know about the establishment. This shows that a candidate is truly interested in the position and is not just looking for a paycheck. Also research the structure of the firm for growth potential. This will assist you in mapping your long-term advancement within the ranks and will prepare you for the “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” question.
Dress for success. This is one of the most important clichés in existence. Regardless of the job you are applying for, dress as if you are applying for the CEO position. Far too often I have witnessed aspiring candidates arrive for their interview in sandals, flip-flops, untucked shirts, un-coiffed hair and rolled-up sleeves. Your clothing signifies how serious you are about obtaining the position. This includes virtual interviews. Don’t assume because you’re on a screen that it doesn’t matter how you dress. Believe it or not, if you dress for the job, that energy is projected across the medium.
One of the biggest mistakes made during an interview is that the candidate rarely brings notes with them. Do not attempt to commit everything to memory. Bring notes with you. This will be handy in the event you need to record information discovered during the interview. Many times, persons leave an interview and vaguely remember what was asked or discussed because of nervousness. In addition, taking notes lets the interviewer(s) know that you are a detailed person.
Ask questions. Interviews are designed to be conversations. Not only is the interviewer(s) determining if you are a good fit for the job, it is equally important that you find out if the company is appropriate for you. Many candidates assume that interviews are one-sided and they are only there to answer questions. Don’t be afraid to refer to your aforementioned notes in the event you forget to ask critical questions.
Promote yourself. When interviewing, bear in mind that there are other individuals vying for the same job. Do not assume that because you got an interview that you have arrived. I recall a candidate walking into the interview room with a cup of coffee in his hand and beginning the process by informing the panel he was there to see what we were offering him. This is not the way to promote yourself. The other candidates may have an educational or skill advantage so it is important that you let the interviewer(s) know your value and worth, but in a humble way. Let them know how much you are prepared to make an impact on the company and advise them of additional skills you possess that will enhance your functions.
After the interview process has been completed, it is permissible to make a follow-up call or email to the firm to inquire about the status of the outcome, if an extended time has elapsed. Most interviewers will advise you of a timeframe when you should hear back from them but be aware that sometimes there is an administrative delay. Use this opportunity to thank them for the opportunity and for their consideration but do not stalk them.
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