Chances are up to know you've only interviewed for service or retail industry jobs that you've gotten right on the spot. Or your mom used some pretty sketchy nepotism to secure you that receptionist gig one summer — shhh, no one has to know.
But now it's onto the real world — making connections, interviewing well and making sure you're decently presentable are all new things you'll need to consider. Getting those crucial internships or fellowships will help you secure a much coveted spot in your industry
Mommy and daddy aren't going to hold your hand forever so you'll need some help to get going — here are seven interviewing tips to aid you and your peers.
1. Cater your resume to each job description
This probably sounds super tedious but if you can write a personalized cover letter for each job, you can alter your resume a bit too. Pay attention to specific skills, qualities and experience highlighted within the job description and make sure these appear first on your resume. And if you've cut out some related experience to shorten your resume, consider swapping them in for something that might not be as essential.
2. Prepare personal examples or anecdotes of key assets
If a job description emphasises leadership and teamwork, be ready to list a couple of personal examples that showcase these traits. Tell your interviewer about that one time you took charge on a group project or how you're so organized you keep two agendas — something related and quirky will definitely obtain and keep attention.
3. Show dedication and interest
If you're not enthusiastic about the job, why would they hire you? Even if you just need to pay the rent this summer, you can't let them know that's the only thing that motivates you. Pay attention to the goals and issues of the company and relate them to your own goals — this way, your interviewer will know you're going to put your 100% in.
4. Use appropriate body language
There's nothing I hate more than a weak handshake — it's like gripping a limp chicken that also has a weak personality and shows hesitancy. Your other body language will tell stories, too — slouching in your seat gives off unprofessionalism and not making eye contact will make you seem doubtful and unconfident. Be firm and strong minded in your actions — it'll definitely reflect a more secure and stable identity.
5. Prepare your own questions
At the end of every interview, they'll definitely ask you if you have any questions for them or the company. Even if you don't — ask. Take away something you heard from the interview or something you read online and form an intelligent question — it'll show that you were paying attention and expressing concern for the position.
6. Write thank you notes
Email a thank you note as soon as you get home or finish the interview — not only will they have a physical reminder of the interview, but it's also just common courtesy. Be sure to include any notable information from the interview and summarize again why you'd be a good match for this job.
Plus, you'll have another line of communication with them in case you have any follow up questions.
7. Practice makes perfect
It might seem silly to roleplay an interview, but you'll definitely be more comfortable once you do. Utilize your college's career services and set up a mock interview with an advisor or even just grab a friend. Google some common interview questions to answer and you should be all set.
So there you go — these tips will definitely not steer you wrong, but there are definitely many more things you can do to ensure the job. Practice and experience really does make perfect so the best thing to do is to dive right in.
No matter what stage you are at in your career, going on a job interview can be unnerving. Anxiety and stress may rear their ugly heads, and the fear of the unknown can be equally nerve-wracking. Even if you are normally calm, cool, and collected, the prospect of meeting with a potential employer for the first time in a setting where you must be at your best can cause palms to sweat and insecurity to come out of the woodwork.
But you can do this! Nail your interview by being well-prepared, polished, and poised. If you are the right person for the job and you make a stellar impression, chances are you'll get the job. That said, there are some things that can ruin your chances of being hired. The actions and behaviors below are major no-nos. Stay on top of your interview manners and you will be one step closer from nailing the gig.
Not Learning as Much as Possible About the Company
You wouldn't show up for an exam without studying, so do not arrive at your interview without knowing as much as you can about the company and the person interviewing you. Show you have a vested interest in the business by doing your homework.
As suggested by Michael Page Career Advice, "Check the 'About Us' link on the company website and read their mission statement. Find out who the competition and major players in the market are." These days, a search is just a click away, so there is no excuse not to know at least the basics about the company and the job you are about to be interviewing for.
Knowledge is power! Prove you are proactive and prepped.
What is on the inside is what counts, but your outward appearance reflects your sensibilities and understanding of the type of business you are trying to be part of. You do not need to dress in a way that isn't your personal style, but there is a level of professionalism and appropriateness that is expected and appreciated.
Career Builder notes, "Wearing clothes that are too tight or too loose, too dressy or too casual, or wearing brands and logos in professional settings is a bad sign, according to 49 percent of hiring managers."
And according to The Balance, "Err on the side of overdressing to demonstrate that you are serious about the opportunity."
Dress to impress and for interview success!
Showing Up Late
Unless there was an unfortunate accident or horrible unexpected storm, there are not many other acceptable reasons to show up late to an interview. As per Michael Page Career Advice, "Unless you have a very good excuse and ring ahead to rearrange, turning up late for an appointment will not endear you to any employer." Their time is valuable, so wasting it will surely leave a sour taste in their mouth… before that first handshake.
As The Balance recommends, "Prepare your travel carefully and leave a cushion for unexpected delays. Arriving late can be a deal breaker and create the impression that you might be an irresponsible employee."
Save those "fashionably late" moments for your personal life. Don't forget, the early bird catches the worm. If you turn up too late, you may be shown the door before you're even invited inside.
Some other interview blunders?
- Leaving your cell phone on… or worse, texting during the interview
- Poor posture
- Bashing your previous boss or company
- Getting too personal
- Not making eye contact
Make the most of the interview experience by remembering to be yourself, remain confident, and speak clearly. Be honest, open, and show you are trustworthy, eager, and smart. Good luck!
Interviews are stressful enough for those seeking a new job, but when the questions being asked cross the line, the process is all the more nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. Before heading in for an upcoming interview, know which questions are par for the course and appropriate and those which should never be asked.
A number of companies are forgoing the traditional one-on-one interviewing process and opting for group interview scenarios instead. According to Reed, "Not only are (group interviews) a good way to compare and contrast candidates, they also demonstrate how each individual works as part of a team, and how they perform under pressure." Additionally, as per U.S. News & World Report, "For the hiring company, a group interview can be a big time saver and the company may be hiring more than one person for the role."
This process may be a benefit for the hiring manager, but for those being interviewed, the experience can be intimidating. If you are about to head off to a group interview for the first time or want to handle the situation better the next time you're in such a position, here are some tips to make it through successfully and prove that you're the best person for the job. The group dynamic can be your ticket to landing a solo interview as a follow-up and get hired for the role you've been coveting!
While you may be inclined to size up the competition or compare yourself based on first impressions, that won't help you be your best self. You have no idea what the others bring to the table, so focus on your strengths and what your experience and talent can do for the company.
As per U.S. News & World Report, "Always be respectful, courteous and professional. Don't talk down to other candidates or try to make their answers wrong." A sure sign of confidence is being secure in yourself despite what the others may gave to offer. The Muse adds, "Remember, you don't have to talk constantly to be noticed—but to be memorable, make sure what you're saying is unique and contributing to the conversation."
Reed suggests to prepare an introduction before you get there as a smooth icebreaker and "body language can make all the difference. Do it right, and you'll appear attentive and alert, showing your interviewers that you're genuinely interested in what they have to say. Do it wrong, however, and you'll only look listless and lethargic."
Don't forget to make eye contact with not only the interviewer, but all people in the room. Smile and be friendly. Being yourself is confidence from within.
Engage and Address the Others
In this group setting, it's important to be aware of your surroundings. This type of interview is more like a conversation, so you'll need to be engaged with the group and give them the respect you'd expect in return.
As per The Muse, "You have to listen to the interviewers and interviewees and stay engaged in where the conversation is headed. Really pay attention and use body language to show you're engaged with the group, even when you're not talking."
Reed notes, "One of the most important facets of leadership is the ability to ensure everyone's opinions are heard, not just voicing your own."
The interviewer is holding a group interview for a reason. They want to see how you can handle the pressure. They need to know how you'll fare in company meetings and conferences. Think of the other candidates as assets. You can bounce ideas off one another or come up with answers you may have never thought of thanks to something another person discussed. You never know, you may just wind up working alongside one or more of these candidates in the future!