Right now it’s job search season for college graduates, which can be both exciting and stressful. Interviewing for jobs is critical and you don’t want to blow it because you might not get a second chance. We’ve rounded up nine interview tips that are tried and true. Graduates, best of luck!
1. Do your homework.
Dedicate time to research the job, company and industry you’re interested in by arranging informal interviews with alumni who work in your field. Discover what trends you should know about to be successful. Analyze the job you’re applying for by looking at the skills, knowledge and personal qualities required for the role and use that to dictate your interview responses. Also, visit the company’s website, LinkedIn page and social media accounts to learn about its brand, objectives and its history. The more you know about a business the more you can market yourself as a great candidate.
2. Write your questions in advance.
You should show up as prepared as possible to show that you’re good at planning, and show your interest for the job and the company.
The Huffington Post puts it perfectly:
There’s a difference between “Tell me about the culture” and “Tell me about how major decisions are made here and provide an example of a recent decision and the process used.” Or, “I read that the organization is changing its strategic direction. How will that affect this business unit?” Avoid questions where answers are on the website.
3. Show your employer more than just a resume.
Create an online portfolio that showcases your skills. Your portfolio should have samples of your past work from internships, classes and volunteer projects. When candidates show us a link that directs them to samples of their work, not only are we impressed but also we get a sense of the candidate’s creativity and fluency in modern technology. Pro tip: print out a copy of your portfolio and use it as a presentation prop during your interview.
4. Be prepared to tell stories.
Anecdotes that highlight your skills and your ability to apply them are more memorable with recruiters more than just listing your accolades. Anyone can make claims in a job interview, but few can back them up. Make a list of about five to ten key assets you possess that are relevant to the job — such as skills, experience, knowledge, etc. — and connect them with examples or anecdotes that show you used that strength to successfully carry out a work role. When describing the context and the problem, explain what you did to improve the situation and elaborate in quantifiable terms. Recruiters definitely want to see what impact on an organization you have made in the past.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
Anticipate some of the typical questions recruiters ask and have your answers and examples rehearsed so you sound natural. Practice out loud in front of the mirror! Here’s a list of some common questions:
– Tell me about yourself.
– What are your strengths and weaknesses.
– Tell me about your greatest accomplishments.
– Share a time you failed and how you responded to the situation.
– Why do you want this job?
– Why this organization?
You should be able to answer these questions clearly and directly without hesitation. If you happen to still be in school, take advantage of your campus career center and sign up to do a mock interview with a career counselor.
6. Be passionate.
One of the top reasons people do not get job offers is they don’t communicate their excitement about the opportunity. Smile and be enthusiastic or your interviewer will question if you really want the job or will be committed to the company. Remember that it’s okay to show your personality and to be yourself. Employers often opt for the candidate they want to work with on a day-to-day basis.
7. Show your confidence with your body language.
Many candidates worry so much about what they need to say that they forget about body language. Remember to sit up straight, shake hands firmly, make eye contact, avoid fidgeting and listen carefully.
8. Act like a salesperson.
Successful salespeople know how to close meetings with clients by ending with a strong closing statement that reflects their enthusiasm for the position. A closing statement should essentially be a summary of the interview. Make it clear that you are excited and interested in the opportunity, reinforce why you’re a great hire for the job and clarify the next steps. Should you follow up via phone or email? When will you hear back?
9. Follow up with a ‘thank you.’
This may be one of the most critical pieces of advice you should remember; it’s expected. Follow up with a brief and professional thank you email a few hours after the interview, and use it as an opportunity to reiterate your excitement about the company and the position. If you really want to stand out, send a hand-written thank you note the day of the interview!
Looking for more job-seeking advice? Take a look at these blogs!