Job Hunting: Learn tips and advice to help make your job interview go more smoothly and with less pressure on you
Interview quick tips and advice
Interviewing is the most stressful part of the job search for most people. It doesn’t have to be stressful. The most important thing is to be prepared. If you are prepared, this will alleviate most of the stress.
Career counselors say good job interviews begin well before the interview starts. Before you arrive for an interview, you should know what the company does, how large it is, and what your role in the company would be. Try learning the company’s values and goals. With this information, you are able to show how your qualifications match the company’s needs.
Preparation is as important as the interview itself. Preparation consists of researching, practicing, and dressing appropriately.
Research – One of the best ways to demonstrate enthusiasm for a job is to research the company and the position that you are being interviewed for. Employers say they are impressed by well-informed jobseekers.
Before you arrive for the interview, you should already know what the company does, how big it is, and what role you would play in the company. Try learning the company’s values and goals. With this information, you are able to show how your qualifications match the company’s needs.
Practicing – You need to practice describing your professional characteristics. Think of examples from your past jobs, schoolwork, or activities to help illustrate important skills. When these accomplishments are recalled beforehand, they will strengthen your answers during the interview and lessen the pressure.
Each interview will be different and there may be surprise questions. Interviewers suggest that rehearsing with a friend or family member will help you gain confidence and poise. Some sample questions that are popular for employers to ask:
How would you describe yourself?
What did you like most about your last job?
What did you like least about your last job?
Why should I select you over other applicants?
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
What are your short-term goals?
Why do you want to work for this company?
Each of these questions gives you a chance to illustrate your favorable characteristics. When you respond, focus on the subjects related to the job. For example, if you are asked what your greatest strength is, don’t just talk about your strength. Try to relate the answer to the position that your are interviewing for. Let them know you are a qualified candidate. For example:
“I work well under pressure.”
“I’m organized and manage time well.”
“I’m eager to learn.”
If you are asked for a weakness or a failure, choose one that does not affect your ability to do the job. Mention something that is actually a strength. For example:
“I’m something of a perfectionist.”
“I’m a stickler for punctuality.”
The goal is not for you to memorize responses to these questions but to become comfortable speaking about yourself and your career goals. When you respond to an interviewer’s questions should not sound as if you are reciting a script. Whatever the question, be ready to emphasize the positive.
Dress appropriately – A useful guideline is to dress as you would for an important day on the job, like a meeting with a supervisor. Clothes should be clean, well fitting, and wrinkle free. Hair should be neat. Avoid cologne and perfume, large pieces of jewelry, and to much or unnatural makeup. These will distract the interviewer from your qualifications.
On the day of the interview, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get ready and travel to the interview location. Plan to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early.
The interview begins the moment you arrive. Each person you meet, from the receptionist to the human resources person, will form an impression of you. To make sure the impression is positive, remember that your words and mannerisms will affect the image that you project. Smile and shake hand firmly when you greet people. Make eye contact and maintain good posture. Don’t create negative impressions by using slang, giving short word answers.
You only have a few seconds to create a positive first impression that can influence the rest of the interview and even determine if you get the job. The interviewer’s first impression of you is based mainly on nonverbal clues. The interviewer is assessing your overall appearance and demeanor.
Most people are very nervous when interviewing. Remember you have been asked to interview for the job because the employer believes you may be right for the position. The interview is your opportunity to confirm that belief.