I count myself lucky in that I love going on job interviews. I know that this makes little sense coming from someone as introverted as myself, but I think it is so much fun. You get the chance to learn about some really great organizations and businesses, all the while learning poise under pressure and effective speaking. Because I know that job interviews are something that a lot of people struggle with, I thought that I would give y'all a little something to nibble on!
- Practice your handshake. Nothing puts me off more than a lame handshake. I know that you hear this all of the time, but a good handshake is warm, engaged, and firm. Grasp the person's whole hand, shaking only their fingers or not applying some pressure come across as disinterested and yucky. Also, make eye contact with the person while shaking their hand, ideally while thanking them for meeting with you. Which leads me directly into...
- Make eye contact! I know that it is easy to get nervous, but talking into your lap is unprofessional. And believe it or not, it is actually easier to answer questions thoroughly when looking at the person who asked you. Looking away or at your feet will make you want to ramble.
- Speak with the intention of answering the question. When you have accomplished that- stop talking. Even if there is a pause where they are not asking the next question, if you have answered, resist the ramble! That is when you say something that causes you to kick yourself later. Answer thoroughly, then stop. If their is a pause that causes you discomfort, ask them if your answer made sense, or say something like, "Did that answer your question?".
- Remember their name, and use it when you say goodbye. Instead of saying "Thanks for your time" and leaving, try "It was great to meet you, Mr. Potter. I'm looking forward to speaking with you further!".
- Read up on the company, and ask specific questions tailored to what you have learned. Your interviewer should open it up for you to ask your questions near the end of your interview, run with the chance! This will help to open up a dialogue rather than a Q&A, and will also let them know that you care enough about the company to do your homework. Ask the interviewer about their experiences as an employee of --. What projects are they particularly proud of?
- Avoid bright colors or loud prints (unless relevant to the job, of course. As in a fashion magazine), opt for neutrals, you want the interviewer to focus on what you are saying, not what you are wearing. Same thing applies to makeup.
- Ask a friend to proof read your resume, and re-write your cover letter for each place you are applying. Email it to them a few days before your interview with a quick message thanking them for their time.
- Do not be afraid to let your personality through! All day the interviewer is hearing people tell them what they think they want to hear, so being genuine in your responses will be refreshing. It will also make you feel more comfortable.
- If you are not feeling calm and put together, just remember that the person interviewing you is only a person too. It is easy to feel nervous and like you need to impress them, but you are also deciding if the company is right for you, it's not a one way decision.
- Send the prospective employer a letter in the mail thanking them after the interview. It will make you stand out, just be sure to keep it professional. Remind them who you are, what time your interview was, and include your contact info with a brief sentence or two inviting them to get in touch should they have any questions about your resume or cover letter. You could also send it to human resources, if they helped you out. In my experience, HR folks are complete angels who work incredibly hard but get little recognition. They are there to support you, and to match up the right candidate with the right position, which is a lot easier said than done. So do not neglect them.
- If you are offered the job, but have decided that it is not for you, do not leave them hanging. If you need more time to think- ask for it! But do not just ignore them, it is unprofessional and insincere. Just as you want a prompt response, so do they.
A brief list for now, but I hope that helps! If you have any questions I am happy to help. Good luck job hunters- you are brilliant!
An abundance of love,