Job Interviews

Posted by in Looking Ahead

If you are approaching your college graduation, you are probably starting to search for your first job. This means doing hours of research on the different companies you are interested in working for, filling out countless applications, and crossing your fingers in hopes of getting a reply back to set up an interview. Interview procedures are the most daunting steps in the whole job hunting process because making a good impression is essential and could be the deciding factor on whether or not you get hired.  But don’t worry, there are many tips and tricks which can help prepare you to walk into a job interview with confidence.

For instance, practice answering questions ahead of time is a great way to be prepared for any type of interview.  You would be surprised by some of the things interviewers ask, and the last thing you want to do is look unsure or unclear in the answers you give. So Googling some practice questions will not only make you less surprised by the questions you may be asked, but it will also help you feel less nervous and more prepared.  Some of the questions you may come across in an interview are personal inquiries about yourself such as: How would you describe yourself? How would a close friend describe you? What are the qualities you can bring to our company? What are your biggest strengths/weaknesses? It is a good idea to know yourself well enough to be able to give a well-developed answers without much of an extra effort. To do this, you may want to think about how you would describe yourself and the way you work best. It is also a good idea to have at least three adjectives ready to use that describe who you are as a person, such as confident, a natural leader, reliable, or a team player.  These are things interviewers commonly look for in new employees.  Also, don’t be surprised if you are the one doing most of the talking.  That’s how interviews usually go and, having the ability to thoroughly answer questions makes you look like a more serious candidate.

Another tip to consider before arriving at an interview is to be well-informed about the organization that is interviewing you for a potentially new employee.  Often background information about what they do, their goals, and/or their company’s purpose will be provided on their website.  Doing some research on their company can only help make you look more competent.  If you know the name of the people conducting your interview ahead of time, you can also do some research about them.  Even if you don’t need to use everything you learn, you want to make sure you are able to answer their questions in a knowledgeable and confident manner.

Dressing appropriately is also key.  It is a good idea to dress one notch above how the employees at the company will be dressed.  For example, if you are interviewing to work on a horse ranch, you don’t want to show up in heels and a dress or a high-end suit. Rather khakis, a button down, and boots should be dressy enough.  But, if you are interviewing at a law firm, you should probably be wearing a crisp, clean-cut business suit.

Another helpful tip that people seem to forget about is to make sure you know where you are going.  If you are not sure of where the office is located, it may be helpful to scout out the building a day in advance.  That way you will know where you are going and how long it will take you to get there.  Also, don’t forget to arrive early.  On time seems late to many people in the business world, but showing up ten minutes ahead of time is a great way to start making that all-important good first impression.

Another important aspect of the job interview process is coming prepared with all the right materials.  The most important thing to have with you is extra copies of your resume.  Even if you sent it via email, sometimes people misplace things or simply don’t print it for the interview.  Having it to hand to your interviewer will make you look very prepared.  A personal business card is also something to think about bringing with you if you have one.  Sometimes interviewers will ask you for your contact information, and that will be the easiest and most professional way to give it to the interviewer.  You may also want to consider bringing a pen and note pad.  Often times, a lot of information will be thrown at you and if you can take a few notes that will make you look prepared and ready for whatever they throw at you.  You may also want to note some questions you have for the interviewers in advance.  You can put these right on the notepad you will be taking to the interview.  I know these are a lot of little things to keep up with, and obviously they won’t all fit in your pockets.  Think about bringing a bag or folder that will make you look professional and will neatly hold all the materials you should have on hand.

Then once you have survived the interview itself, it is always a good idea to send a hand written note an email thanking the interviewers for their time and for considering you for the position.  This allows the company to know that you are very interested in their job opening and that you appreciate the time they took out of their day to spend with you.  It also gives evidence of your ability to follow up on conversations – a skill important in almost any work setting.

Good luck!