The dreaded interview! Interviews are often plagued by feelings of anxiousness of the unknown. It does not have to be this way! Here are a few tips for a successful interview:
1.Make sure you have everything you need for the interview ready the DAY BEFORE.
Print your resume, have your required identification, write out a list of references, write down questions for the hiring manager. Don’t wait until the last minute as feeling rushed can make pre-interview nerves worse! This also allows you to get focused for the interview instead of focusing on not forgetting anything! Pick out your outfit the day before as well. There is nothing worse than rushing to get ready and realizing your best shirt is a wrinkled mess!
2. Check over your resume! Making sure you list all previous employment is important, but also look at your resume and make sure that the appearance is professional and appropriate. Resumes do not need to be 20 pages. Keep each section short, sweet, and to the point. Resumes need to be spot-checked and edited for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Saying that you spent 7 years as a mechanic at a “cat” shop may not be what an employer is looking for and they might point you to the vet’s office down the street! Why not have a loved one or job placement office check over your resume as well?
3. Practice basic interviewing questions with a loved one!This can be done over the phone, FaceTime, or in-person. Make a list of common questions or field-specific questions. Then, give it to a loved one to practice with you. Do not be afraid to ask for advice/critiques. Try not to over-rehearse responses. Ask loved ones to ask follow-up questions if they think of any. This will prepare you for the flow of a real interview conversation.
4. Have an idea of your strengths and weaknessesEmployers will ask these tough questions. This is a great question to practice and have an answer lined up. Coming up with strengths is relatively easy, but coming up with job-specific strengths may take some consideration. Also, in my experience, weaknesses are difficult to think of and even harder to describe/discuss on the spot. No one wants to talk about things they are bad at, but employers want to know what skills you are passionate about improving on. Have examples of how you think the job you are applying for will help you build those skills you may not be great at! Employers LOVE to see ambition and desire to improve.
5. Dress for success.
This tip seems obvious. Dress appropriately! This does not mean wearing whatever you decided to roll out of bed and throw on. Take time and think about your attire. Though hiring managers are typically skilled at not judging a book by its cover, first impressions are vitally important during interviews. Therefore, you should dress professionally in a way that makes you feel confident. I have personally dressed for an interview in an outfit that was appropriate, but completely uncomfortable. Because of this, I did not feel as confident as I should have and most of the interview all I could think of was how bad my feet hurt. We all know that feeling when we choose an awesome outfit and we just ooze confidence. Do that for your interview -dress professionally, comfortably, and confidently!
Happy job hunting!