Interviews are such a huge part of adult, professional life. From the time you are 16 or apply for your first job, you embark on a long journey of potential interviews to span the course of a 40 or 50 year professional life. Think about it-any important opportunity you encounter is likely to have an interview element. Today at Profession Concession, we are going to try to break down the interview process to help guide you to success, no matter the career field or job description. A word of caution, remember that interviews can vary drastically depending on the type of position to which you are applying. This is a general guide, and we encourage you to do your own research regarding the requirements of your particular interview. With that, let’s dig in-
- First impressions are everything. Yeah, we know, you’ve heard this one before, but a gentle reminder doesn’t hurt. Whatever you do, don’t go into an interview with any part of your persona off-putting to others. Did you have a horrible morning and had to hide the coffee stain on your white shirt with a blazer? Who cares. Really, the interviewer doesn’t. So, in this moment, pretend as if none of it matters. You are your very best self without a care in the world and all of the confidence in it. By putting your best foot forward, even on your worst days, you will show your professionalism and ability to handle anything that comes your way. Oh yeah, and make sure to give a firm handshake and look the person in the eyes.
- Dress the part. Yes, it stinks that your personality and skills can’t just radiate out of your brain right into the mind of your interviewer. You can be the smartest, most skilled person in the room, but if you come across as sloppy and unkempt, the person interviewing you might not care. Really, think about it. This company is looking for a person who will represent them in one way or another. Your job might be in the front office or it might be on the factory floor, and both of those roles have their own unique requirements and dress codes, but at the interview, you are representing yourself as a professional whatever-it-is-you-do, so your job in that moment, is to look professional. For more corporate or business type jobs, you better be in a suit. For other positions, a clean, pressed button-down and khakis are fine. The point here is that you want to look polished. Show the company you care about yourself or there is no way they’ll think that you care about your job.
- Enthusiasm required. One of the worst things you can do in an interview is to come in dead-headed and uninterested. Again, this is the circumstance where the the assumption is that you are putting your best face forward. So if you come off as uninterested or unmotivated, the employer is going to assume that things will only go down hill from there. Greet your interviewer with a smile. Engage in the questions asked, don’t just give one word answers. Even ask some questions of your own, for example, “What qualities would you like for the ideal candidate to have for this position?”
- Know your stuff. One of the questions you ask should not be “So , what do you do here?”. Google the company! Do your research, ask around. Find out what they make/do and learn enough about it to sound interested and willing to learn more. Also, make sure you review your own qualifications, skills and experience. Some of the items on your resume may be from a decade ago, so you need to refresh yourself on what you did in each position. It’s always strange if a candidate doesn’t remember his own background…
- Speak well, listen better. Turn on your professional voice. This doesn’t mean that you have to fake an accent or be anyone other than yourself, it’s about being the best version of yourself possible. Don’t use slang words/phrases, and definitely nix the foul language. Genuinely listen to your interviewer and answer the questions she asks. Don’t just rattle off a prepared recitation of your resume, be a good conversationalist.
There you have it, your starter tips for a great interview! Have other ideas about what makes a great interview? We are interested in hearing from employers and job-seekers alike on this front. E-mail us your thoughts and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!