Interviews are your first chance to make a lasting impression. What you say, what you wear, and how (or whether) you answer the questions can make or break your chances at landing that dream job. You don’t want to miss this master class!
Looking for a job can be discouraging, but remember, 52% of applicants get 1 or 2 interviews after submitting 10 applications. 34% get none and 14% get 3 or more interviews. It usually takes at least ten applications to get a job.
The first step to interviewing is preparation, which will take far longer than the interview. And we assume we have the interview because our resumes are great, our cover letters do not contain typos and our social media presence reflects what we want to communicate to the world, including a potential employer.
Research the company and the industry, check into what their employees on LinkIn are posting, find people who know about the company and ask questions. What would you like to know about the company or working there that you did not find out in your research?
Find a personal connection to the company and let that person know you have an interview. Candidates that are referred and have personal connections are more likely to be hired.
Practice answering questions – no, really, don’t just consider what your answers would be, but actually say it out loud – preferably with someone you trust. We should be prepared to answer the difficult questions about ourselves – be ready to explain gaps in our resume, a termination, a criminal conviction . . . we should be ready to talk about the challenging parts of our resume and work – and sometimes personal – history. Practice with a friend or mentor.
And we have arrived at the big day – be early, comfortable, rested, hydrated, and nourished.
It is okay to be nervous, it shows you care, but focusing on our nervousness can be distracting.
Here are some helpful hints: answer the questions and be honest in your answers (this is BIG!); take notes if it is helpful to stay on track; have copies of your resume, references, writing samples etc in case those are needed; ask the questions that arose during your research. And feel free to be funny and add humor – funny people are more likely to be hired.