7 Job Interview Tips for Prospective Employees
Prospective job applicants may know that the job market remains tight with many more applicants per opening than from five years ago. A slowly recovering economy, tax headwinds and a mixed national mood continue to affect the job market, but for the savvy prospect there are opportunities awaiting them.
The following job interview tips should be considered as you navigate your way through the interview process.
1. Prepare yourself. Well before you agree to an interview, you will need to get prepared first. Several matters should be addressed here including your interview attire, your resume and your understanding of the job opening. Your attire should match the company’s requirements. For instance, if the company a formal business, then no less than a business suit should be worn. For less formal companies consider business casual, but avoid tee-shirts and cut-offs even if both are part of the company’s dress code. Your resume should be accurate, up to date and well written. Have it reviewed by a resume writing professional and update it if necessary. Read the details about the job you are applying for. You need to know if this opportunity is something you can possibly take on. If not, look elsewhere.
2. Consider your skills. What skills do you bring to the job? These skills include both hard and soft skills. Hard skills include your command of a software program, your ability to operate a certain piece of equipment or your expertise in reading blueprints. Soft skills are your personal qualities such as your ability to lead, to cooperate with other employees and your social graces.
3. Make a case for yourself. Do not think for a moment that your talents alone will help you land the job? In your mind, you need to develop a case for what you do and present that in your interview. This means being able to recognize possible problems, offer effective solutions and explain how you would execute what you have identified. Those job candidates best able to make a case for themselves are more likely to succeed as they look for work.
4. Create positive and lasting impressions. Arrive at your interview at least five to up to 15 minutes before its start. That time starts not when you arrive in the parking lot or on the premises, but at the interviewing office. When you meet your interviewer you should stand up, shake his or her hand and look this individual in the eye. Maintain eye contact during the interview — do not chew gum, fiddle with your hair or play with your cell phone. Leave positive first and lasting impressions!
5. Engage in a dialogue. Your interviewer will ask questions and you will give answers. You should look at your interview as a conversation, with you asking questions as well. Stay focused on the conversation at hand, but do ask for elaboration as needed.
6. Demonstrate proficiency. An interview is your opportunity to show how you would shine the position if you were hired. Expect to answer questions thoughtfully and with detail, striking a balance between conciseness and elaboration as you respond. Avoid prattling on, but do answer each question or elaborate on every point as needed. Expect that you will share more about yourself in a subsequent interview.
7. Follow up. Immediately following your interview, draft a thank you note and send it to your interviewer. You can send this by email or by postal mail. If you do not hear back from the company within a week, follow up and ask for a second interview. Demonstrate interest in a job and your candidacy will be looked upon favorably.
Always project self-confidence when being interviewed. Demonstrate your problem-solving skills and your desire to work as a team player. Graciously accept criticism and show a willingness to be flexible and to adapt. In a tight job market you need to show that you are head and shoulders above other candidates, an individual that can add value to the new company.