As someone looking to transition into the working world, something I have to think about is what happens when you finally get a response after sending in a job application. In a perfect world, we would all just send in our resumes and instantly be handed a position at the company of our dreams. Unfortunately, in real life, there’s one tiny step in between: the interview.
Interviews can be daunting, scary, tense and filled with unspoken pressure. And as if that’s not enough, “Less than 10% of hiring managers associate the words ‘professional’ and ‘organized’ with millennial workers,” according to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/pictures/lmj45klek/arrive-early-2/). The interview is your chance to show your potential future employer that you are different–that you are exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate, and that you’ll go above and beyond any expectations they may have of you.
How does one do that, you ask? Well, I aim to give you some tips about interviews that I’ve either heard over the years or have learned from past experience. Just know that not all employers are the same, so it’s important to feel out your interview situation before following any advice.
Here we go!
1.Dress to Impress
You want to appear professional, organized, clean, and mature. If you’re not sure what the culture of the company is, it’s (usually) always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Wearing a business appropriate suit or skirt is a safe way to go. You don’t want to wear colors that are too distracting, either. Personally, I always wear black and white to interviews. It’s classic, clean, and crisp. Neutrals like greys or navy blues are also acceptable for suiting. Dress for the job that you want and use your words to make this company realize that they need you.
- As Scar says, “Be Prepared”
If you don’t know where the office or building is, get directions and do a test run. Figure out how long it takes to get there and where to park. When it is time for the real interview, make sure to get there about 10 minutes early. Business Insider says that arriving more than 10 minutes early can make the interviewer feel pressure to drop what they’re doing to attend to you, which isn’t a good thing (http://business.financialpost.com/business-insider/job-interview-tips). Make sure that you have extra printed copies of your resume (pulling it up on your phone doesn’t count) in case there are multiple interviewers. Bringing extra writing samples can also make you seem extra prepared.
- Turn Off All of your Phones and Gagdets
Speaking of phones, turn yours off. At least put it on silent. This interview is way more important than what your friend is about to text you. No employer is going to be impressed with you showing off how fast you can text without looking. NONE OF THEM.
- Body Language
Most people think that our generation has forgotten the useful art of interacting with humans face-to-face due to our tendency to hide behind a screen. Your body language can either confirm or deny this assumption. Keeping strong eye contact shows your interest, but you don’t have to stare the person down. Looking a person in the eye shows your sincerity and confidence as well. And don’t forget about the handshake. Monster.com recommends practicing so that you’re not squeezing too hard or flopping around limply (https://jryan1022.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/awkward-handshake.jpg). While in the interview, make sure to sit up straight with your chin held high, your chest up, and your legs uncrossed to make you appear open.
- Do Your Research
With all of the technological resources that we have, don’t be afraid to use them to research the company. Call it stalking if you want, but you should know as much as you possibly can: their values, clients, services, important people, current news, and details about your position. You don’t want to be caught off guard with a question about the company’s president if you don’t even know his or her name. Plus, when it comes to asking your own questions, you don’t want to ask about something that would have been obvious if you looked at their website for five minutes.
- Send a Thank You
Never underestimate the power of a hand-written thank you note. After the interview is over, jot down some notes about the conversation and any important or interesting things that came up. Write out a personal thank you card that day, and make sure to include something that will remind the interviewer about your conversation. Send it that day or the next, but don’t wait too long. An emailed thank you is also acceptable, but sometimes going the extra mile to use actual stationary and a stamp is that extra touch that makes you stand out.
NOW GO GET THAT JOB!!!!!!!!