Updated: Feb 22
We all have been there (or will be at some point): The very nerve wrecking feeling, sweaty palms, the pit in your throat. All you want is for them to like you, to really, REALLY like you….Yes, I am talking about a job interview.
They should not be that bad though. After all, you are being asked about yourself. But if you're like me, you start to doubt yourself and your qualities. I decided to do my research, make a list, and organize them into helpful information I can share with my fellow job seekers!
Before the Interview:
Research the company. Learn as much as you can about the company and the position that is open. Knowing this information ahead of time shows how serious you are about the position.
Update your Resume. Please, Please, PLEASE, proofread, spell check, and then have a second pair of eyes proofread it for you. There is nothing more embarrassing then having a misspelled word or grammar mistake on your professional résumé. Also make sure to have your cover letter personalized for the right company. Having the wrong position at the wrong company basically takes you out of the running. I have seen it happen to fellow job seekers before. If these unfortunate thing happens to you, do not send a revised résumé. The damage is already done. Also if the company did not pick up on those mistakes, you don't want to point them out.
The Prep. By this point, you have already put yourself out there and landed and interview. First and foremost, eat a light breakfast the day of. Your nerves might have you feeling like you're not hungry, but something light and dairy-free will keep your stomach settled. Print out a few copies of your résumé and whatever materials they requested. If you are in the art field, like I am, always bring your portfolio. Artsy jobs tend to not let us know whether to bring one or not, so always make sure you have that with you. Do not carry these materials in a torn up folder. Also bring with you a notepad and pens.
Dress professionally: Even if the company's culture is laid back and super casual, you should still wear something suit-like. Ladies, wear a suit-like dress (definitely one that does not have prints on it). Avoid any oversized or layered jewelry. Wear natural makeup and keep your hair simple and out of your face. My favorite interview hairstyles are a neat bun or half-up styles. Fellas, even if you hate suits, wear it. Do not go Step Brothers on us and wear a tux. It made a funny scene in the movie but it will not be funny in real life.
Before entering the office, turn off your phone and spit out your gum. Be on time! You do not want to be late but you also do not want to arrive to early. I tend of plan out my travels with enough time to get lost and still make it there on time. And for those rare cases that I do not get lost or the subway/bus are not delayed, I sit in the nearest Starbucks or I scout the area.
Here you go! It is now or never, so let's get it right before never becomes more scary of a word. Just remember these helpful tips:
Be confident, but not cocky.
Eye contact, smiling, head nodding.
Be polite and energetic: Be nice to everyone in and around the building. You never know who works at the company or who will be interviewing you.
Maintain good posture.
Do not be negative: Do not trash talk, do not talk about things you don't want to do. You need to be open for any work that comes your way.
Do not ask about money during the first interview.
Do not talk too much- You do not want to be a chatterbox, despite your nerves, and you do not want to give just one worded answers. Also, do not interrupt the person who is interviewing you.
Now to break down each question with the best possible answer you can give the.
Tell me about yourself. Be careful. This doesn't mean to mention your favorite color and talk about the litter of cats you own and love dearly. Mention only the qualities, interest, and experiences that fit the job description.
What's your weakness? You might think the correct answer to this time bomb question is "I work too hard and I'm a perfectionist", yet it is not. Pick a real weakness in the industry that you are actively trying to improve. For example: maybe there is a new computer program people are using and you have yet to master.
Why do you want this job? Do not say money, even if it is true. Answer with what would show you are passionate and interested in the line of work.
Do you have any questions? YES! Always ask a question! Questions mean you are engaged in the position. The night before, come up with five questions you can ask them. You do not want to just prepare one just in case they answer that question during the interview.Here are some possible questions you can use:
Why is this position open? Is there an opportunity for growth with this position? If so, where does it lead?
What qualities do you feel will most benefit a new hire in this role?
What problems can I help you solve?
What mistakes have people in this position made?
At the end of the interview, ask when a decision is going to be make and when it is appropriate for you to follow up. On the way out, make sure to thanks them for taking the time to meet with you.
After the Interview:
Manners. Send a ‘Thank You’ email within 24 hours of the interview. This step is important. Some places will not hire if this step is ignored. Thank the recipient for meeting with you. Make it clear you are very excited for this opportunity. Let them know you hope to hear back.
Follow up if you have not heard back by the date specified during the interview. Do not follow up before that date.
DO NOT tweet, facebook post, or blog about the interview. We all know the first thing a potential employer does after an interview is Google the interviewee.
I hope all of you find this helpful and, more importantly, helps you land the job!