I’m beginning a new section of this blog entitled Tip Jar. It’ll be a random, short post that I’ll plop up every now and then about various “tips” I have for my lovely readers. The tips can be anything from home related, money matters, local hot spots, etc. If YOU have a tip that you’d like me to include in the Tip Jar, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip #1: Interviewing Techniques
This isn’t really a tip about techniques as it is about how to put your best foot forward during an interview. Now, I wouldn’t say my advice is obsolete because every position and every hiring manager is different. But I have spent the past three years in the Recruitment department of a Fortune 50 company, so I figured, HEY! why not share my advice?
- Review the company bio before your interview and be pre-pared for a “pop quiz” on company information. Many hiring managers like to ask the candidate what they know about the company. Do your homework and be prepared to talk about the basics such as company start date, company focus and agenda. Bonus points to the candidate that can speak to the company’s social responsibility initiatives or recent growth. Steer clear of potentially taboo topics like a recent top exec’s personal life in the news, or potentially negative comments about the company that you’ve read on Yahoo News.
- Read the job description and start planning out how you meet the criteria. Some job descriptions have specific criteria on what they’re looking for in a candidate. If you can pre-identify projects you’ve worked on that relate to that specific criteria, you will be better pre-pared to keep conversation flowing and to be able to think quickly about your responses to interview questions.
- Be prepared for a Behavioral Interview. Most companies are moving towards behavioral interview techniques, which help them get to know your past performance to help in dictating what your future performance/actions could and would look like in a similar situation. If you’re unfamiliar with behavioral interviewing, practice! Resources are available on the internet including web searches and YouTube videos that can help you prepare for the interview.
- Dress for the job you want. Recruiters and hiring managers notice what you’re wearing and how you present yourself. It is true that first impressions are made in the first 30 seconds you meet someone. So take time to make sure that you’ve busted out that lint roller, pressed back stray hairs and re-applied that lipstick. I read recently that people don’t notice shoes at first. That on women, the first thing people notice is their bag or purse. So instead of dropping hundreds of bucks on stylish Jimmy Choo’s, put that money towards a purse or a bag that is name brand. I’m not saying that you need to get all crazy and max out your credit cards to wear all name brand clothes, BUT if you’re going to spend the money anyways, spend it on something smart that they’ll actually notice.
- Don’t be desperate. One of the things I hate the most is hearing a candidate plead for a chance to interview. EVERYONE is having a hard time right now because of the economy. Everyone is in need of a job. Begging will not get you through those doors faster, and will more than likely put your resume at the bottom of the pile. Instead, slap on an aura of confidence and a go-get-em attitude and highlight your best attributes from your past career performance. Make sure these items are noted on your resume and easy to find. This will get you noticed better than an in-person plead for a job interview.
- Send a follow-up thank you email/letter! Now, don’t get all crazy on the recruiter/hiring manager and
stalk themcontact them multiple times post-interview. They’ll get back to you. They’re more than likely still screening candidates and working with their hiring manager to identify candidates for second round interviews. The more you pressure them and stalkcontact them, the more you seem like a high-maintenance candidate. Instead, send a short email or letter to the hiring manager or recruiter you interviewed them and thank them for the opportunity to interview for the position. You may highlight ONE item that you feel makes you a great candidate for the position, but keep it short and sweet.
- And, if you end up getting passed over for the position, take it in stride. There are million of people that are out there interviewing for the few positions that are available in the workforce. That means there’s more competition for jobs than there once was. More than likely, you may think you’re a perfect candidate for the position…and in most cases you probably are. But know that there are probably at least 2 or 3 other “perfect” candidates also interviewing for the position. So, take rejection with grace and focus on your next application/interview.