Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top 10 Thursday -- Job Edition

I follow a few message boards/blogs and a lot of the topics lately have been centered around job interviews and how to prepare. Although I don't think I am a particularly great interviewer, I do think I am fantastic at interview prep. I thought I'd share a few of my tips for interested parties, or for people who are just looking for someone else to tell them what to do. Sometimes that's all we need, is a litle push in the right direction!
1. Dress up! I don't care if you are interviewing at the local junkyard, if it's your first interview, wear a suit. If the interviewer is in jeans and a tshirt, you could probably tone it down for the second and final interviews, but otherwise, stick with a suit. You'll wow them with your professionalism!

2. Bring a portfolio, folder, or notebook to take notes in. Address what your intentions are in the beginning by telling the intervierwer you don't want to forget anything, and does he/she mind if you take notes as you talk. Don't let your note taking distract you, but truly write down things that you want to remember (such as important names, positions, etc).

3. Prepare questions to ask your interviewer in advance. I take a cheat sheet (I made my own, but a quick google search & this one popped up) with questions, the name of the company, some information about the company, and the interviewer's name on it into the interview with me, and when I take notes, I take them on my cheat sheet. Most times, the interviewer can see that I have questions prepared (scroll to the bottom) and that I am filling in the blanks as they get answered. When the interviewer asks me if I have any questions for them, I've usually already narrowed my list down to 2-3 questions that haven't already been answered, and I can scan my list and confirm that.

4. Rehearse the answers, out loud, to each of these questions that an interviewer could ask you. It might sound silly, but it will allow you to focus on the points you want to emphasize, and you will be able to rephrase things that you don't want to say. I think this list is a fair summary of important questions and topics to rehearse, but there are so many tools out there.

5. Be yourself. If you aren't, even if the interviewer doesn't notice the fakeness, you won't be able to keep up the facade if you are to get the position and you will be miserable or you will quickly find yourself without a job again. You are fantastic, talented, capable, (hopefully) intelligent, among other things. Let your best qualities shine through. If you are enthusiastic about life and work, don't suppress it! Don't go over the top, but being genuine will speak volumes to the interviewer about who you are as a person.

6. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview, but if you are more than 10 minutes early, wait in your car or outside or somewhere other than in the reception office. Many people consider it inconsiderate to arrive to an interview any more than 10 minutes early, and if I am early at all, I always acknowledge it when I check in for my appointment.

7. Schedule interviews for when you are at your best! I am very lethargic and sleepy in the afternoon, so I try to avoid afternoon meetings & interviews as much as possible. I am far more productive and energetic in the morning, and I feel that I am at my best then. When given the option, I always choose a morning interview! That being said, don't demand it; let the interviewer set the time and let them know your preference if they ask.

8. Research the company and the person interviewing you. Even if you just jot down a few notes on your cheat sheet, it demonstrates your interest. Especially if you can find a way to reference anything. I once mentioned (accidentally) that I had found a potential employer on a social networking site, and they were very impressed that I had taken the time to go somewhere other than the company's website for information. Also, utitlize the resources you have. With all the networking sites out there, you will surely be able to find someone who works at the company or in a position similar to one you are interviewing for. By mentioning that you have done some asking around, you are proving that you are resourceful, capable, and able to find answers, all of which are great qualities to have.

9. Send thank you cards!! People think this is overrated, but you would be shocked at how meaningful this really is. My father, who has hired 100's of people over the course of his career, even recommends sitting in the lobby after your interview and writing the cards right there and asking a receptionist to make sure they are delivered. When a candidate wrote her thank you note in the lobby of his office, my father noted that she was an enthusiastic candidate who wanted to be very clear about her interest in the job. Whether you write them immediately or you wait until you get home, make sure to do it. A little note goes a long way!

10. Bring extra copies of your resume, and ask the interviewer for a business card. Print the job description and any additional information that you have found. Print your questions. Bring a pen. Make sure your phone is on silent or off. And call someone just before you go in and have them give you a 30 second pep talk -- sometimes it makes all the difference in the world!

Anyone else have any other tried & true interview tips they want to share? I'm sure we can all use the help! Good luck to everyone looking for jobs, hopefully these tips were helpful :)

1 comment:

  1. I always tell people to stay business focused. Sometimes in interviews, you bond with people right away and it's easy to start treating them more friendly, and divulging personal details about your life outside of work, but that can bite you in the butt!