You’ve gone to class, you’ve practiced your career skills in real-world labs, Career Services has helped you develop your resume and cover letter and helped you apply for jobs… and now you’ve secured a job interview.
If you’re anything like me, interviews might make you a little queasy.
But here’s the thing, if you want a job, you’re going to have to do a job interview… and you’re going to have to do it well.
Luckily there are many people who are happy to share their job interview expertise, which can make acing your interview a little easier – butterflies and all.
This latest list of tips comes courtesy of Deanne Desautels, owner of Accounting and Finance Professionals Inc., and Matt Owens, a senior technical recruiter from Phoenix Staff Inc., who shared their insights with Taylor P. Rose as part of a special article for The Arizona Republic back in July 2011.
Be prepared. Take time to prepare for your interview. Put together a list of your questions and practice answering commonly asked interview questions. Make sure you know about the company you are interviewing with and know how your skills and experience fit with the job description.
Dress professionally. You should look professional no matter what, and there’s no such thing as too professional. The only thing you shouldn’t overdo is the accessories – this includes gum, perfume/cologne, makeup, etc.
Bring copies of your resume. This is pretty self-explanatory and the point is you’d rather be safe than sorry. Other items you should bring can include stuff to take notes with and a copy of the job description.
Think before you speak. The interviewer is not timing you. You actually might impress him or her more if you approach each question with thoughtful consideration. You also don’t want you answers to sound rehearsed.
Be positive. Let’s face it, did anything good ever come from being negative? So kindly dispose of your inner “Negative Nancy” or “Debbie Downer” before the interview.
Be specific. Vague answers are not going to help the interviewer make a decision about you and it’s definitely not going to set you apart from the crowd. If an interviewer can’t remember you, they are probably not likely to hire you.
Make a common link. Be personable, and if the opportunity arises, expand on a common link that you have with your interviewer.Don’t force a connection because that can make you seem fake, but if they like you or if you share a common link with them, you stand a better chance of being remembered.
Specialize. Know your strengths, but also know that specializing in certain skills and areas of expertise give you a better chance of standing out and attracting an employer who is looking for your specific skills. This is when it pays to be familiar with the job description. That way, you can match up the skills you have with the skill they are looking for.
Update social media. Make sure your profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) are up-to-date and that there is nothing on there that could work against you if/when the company takes a look to learn more about you.
Watch what you say. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, remember what I said about dumping your inner “Negative Nancy?” Well, this also applies to information about your past employers and coworkers. Leave the drama and negativity at the door. It’s one thing to say you had a difference of opinion and leave it at that. It’s a whole different ball game when you start reenacting an office argument complete with character voices, sound effects and finger puppets.
Avoid personal issues. Leave the personal at home where it belongs. Bottom line, an employer wants to know that if they hire you, nothing you have going on at home is going to affect or distract you from doing your job.
No phone messages. Remove the temptation altogether and turn off your cellphone before you enter the building. Okay fine, at the very least, set it to silent.