Fellas, if you’re going to be graduating soon or are just out there looking for a new job, take a look at these tips on how to ace your next job interview.
I just spent the last 5 hours on a plane from Hawaii sitting next to a former human resources administrator (by the way she was hot) who had these excellent interview tips to share.
So you’ve got the interview lined up? Great, you’re through the first hoop. Right now they think you look good on paper, but want to bring you in to make sure you’re what you say you are. More than anything they want to see if you can put two sentences together and see if you are a good fit.
Practice. Before the interview, rehearse with a friend some questions that could be asked of you. Some examples are what are your strengths and weaknesses, why do you want to work for this company and why should we hire you. Going through these basic questions at least once can help your responses come out more smoothly during the actual interview.
Arrive 10 minutes early. Your interview is scheduled at a particular time for a reason, so it’s annoying to the interviewer if you arrive too early. 10 minutes shows that you’re prompt but still respectful of their time. Anything earlier and you look like that guy who has no options.
Bring your resume and references. This sounds obvious but a lot of people still forget to do this. Often at big corporations or for entry level type positions you’ll be asked to fill out an application, and you don’t want to be stuck racking your brain to remember when you used to hawk televisions at Best Buy.
Right when you walk through the door, you are being judged. Make a good first impression by smiling and standing up when you are greeted. And always remember your basic conversation manners and don’t interrupt, maintain good eye contact, and listen intently.
Look the part. More than anything, people tend to hire people like themselves—it’s human nature. You should dress according to the company’s culture, but err on the side of being dressier and more conservative if you don’t have a good idea of what people wear. Case the joint a couple days in advance and see what type of people come out of the office. You can also call the company and ask the receptionist what the company dress code is like.
Have a firm handshake. The first handshake with your interviewer is part of your first impression. Don’t give him/her spaghetti noodle hands, but don’t crush their fingers either. Remember to make eye contact during the shake as well. Do your homework. Research what the company does, who its key players are, who their biggest competitor is, or if they were in the news lately. Your interviewer will be impressed if you can spit some knowledge about the organization and/or its leaders.
Prepare some well thought out questions. Keep in mind that not only are you being interviewed, but you are interviewing the company to see if this job and company are a good fit for you. Ask questions that you really want to know the answers to, like who will you report to, what are the primary challenges your position will face, what are the work hours, or what is the office culture like?
Show some enthusiasm. If you are interviewing for your dream job, tell the interviewer how excited you are to be there and how much you appreciate the opportunity. Your excitement and energy can go a long way.
Show me the money. If salary requirements come up, let them know you are flexible. Unless you are coming in with a ton of relevant experience or are working in an industry that is in high demand, don’t be so demanding. This is a mistake many recent grads make who feel like they are entitled to the big money. The reality is, they are low on the totem pole and have less negotiating power. The goal in the interview process is to first get them to love you as a candidate and offer you the job. Get them to feel like you are truly the most talented and a perfect fit for their company. Once you get the offer letter, then you can negotiate. If you are not flexible, then tell them exactly what you want—just be prepared to justify.
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Where are they at? Ask where they are in the interview process so that you’re not waiting around wondering when to expect a call. If you don’t hear back by the time they say, wait another day and then call to follow-up and see what the status is. This also shows that you’re still interested and eager to get the position.
The way you behave after the interview says a lot about you. The key here is to stay persistent, but patient.
Related Blog Post: Ep. 04 — Jeff Stanford
Follow up or be forgotten. Be sure to get your interviewer’s business card so you can send a thank-you note after the interview. These days an email is acceptable, but a good old-fashioned card is always well received. If you really want to let the interviewer know you want the job, send a thank you note that stands out. For example, say you’re interviewing for the sports desk at a local paper, write the thank you note on an actual baseball and send it to them. This will give them no choice but to draft you.
Realize that the interviewer is probably juggling other candidate interviews, human resources paperwork, their own work load, meetings, and a bunch of other items all at once. Definitely send an email to follow up, but be cautious of not being too annoying.
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