Earlier this week, we introduced to you the TOP TWO tips for new (or not so new) graduates going into job interviews. Here’s a look at the next three tips to help college students, recent graduates and newly (or not so newly) unemployed people get that job.
#3 – Be PREPARED. – There is much more to being prepared for interviewing then this, yet many people don’t consider these so I can’t in good conscience leave them out: bringing a copy of your resume and cover letter in a portfolio or a folder and a piece of paper and a pen. This will help but what will set you apart are the questions that you practiced answering and the questions that you prepare to ask in the interview. Yes I did say practice answering questions. There are thousands of resources on the internet for commonly asked interview questions – find some reputable ones and thoughtfully answer them before you begin interviewing. Unless you’ve aced every interview you’ve ever had you will benefit from this practice time. Even more important though is preparing more than a handful of strong questions to ask your interviewer at some point during the interview. These should not be questions about money or benefits or what you might gain from the job. They should be questions that demonstrate that you are also focused on best fit and that you are hoping to find out as much about them and the job through the interview process as they are about you.
#4 – Be EMPLOYABLE. – Employers are not only looking for the person with the best skill set they also looking for someone who is going to represent their company well. Employ-ability covers a range of interview issues – like how to dress (modestly and professionally), when to show up (a smidge early), how to interact (person-ably and consistently), and so forth. I’ve found that most college grads gain these skills through their various collegiate interactions, yet some don’t. I guess another blog post is in order for this topic. Less obviously, I want to share what get’s interviewers hung up and what can de-rail an otherwise successful job search for some people. Distraction. Distraction is an interview killer and it can create in the interviewer’s mind a doubt about employ-ability and, more importantly longevity. If an interviewer is distracted by the interviewee’s appearance, fidgeting, stammering or inability to understand or answer her questions she will wonder if you will be a good fit for ANY job, no matter your skills and knowledge. You need to be sure to eliminate ALL distractions.
#5 – Be PROACTIVE. – This is pivotal both before and at the close of the interview. When they call to invite you to the interview be sure to ask the pertinent questions that will help you prepare for the interview, like who you will be interviewing with (including names and titles), for how long, in what format, and what is the company’s dress code. Ideally you should be asking some of these questions of the individual with whom you’ve been networking with about the opportunity but if you must wait and ask these questions of the person who calls you to invite you to the interview then do it. The rule of thumb when asking questions before, during or after an interview is that they be relevant, respectful or relational, as your goal is to identify and demonstrate best fit. Never leave an interview without the capability of following up in some way and be sure to have the right contact information to send a thank you note. Most importantly the questions that you ask at the end of the interview are either going to set you apart from other candidates or not. Be sure you are prepared to show your uniqueness either at the close of the interview or with your follow up activities. This requires proactive questions and behaviors that will make the interviewer want to maintain a relationship with you once the interview is over
JoAnne Casterlin is an Adjunct Professor at Davis College in Career Development. She is an active career and life coach who has worked in Career Development for over 10 years. JoAnne seeks to encourage others facing life transitions and challenges through coaching, blogging, and sharing her testimony. She speaks on the theme of “Authentic, Abiding and Abundant Christian Living” and focuses on helping women of all ages to better handle life changes, break free from adversity and experience spiritual growth with grace, courage and wisdom.