I’ve applied to well over 20 jobs.
I’ve had a total of 5 interviews.
There’s no question that it’s a tough job market out there right now for almost everyone…in almost every field.
Obviously, I’m still looking for another part-time or full-time job in addition to my current part-time job. And I wish I would have had someone share their job interview experience with me at the very beginning to save me a lot of mistakes and mishaps. Which is why I decided to share my own personal experiences with all of you fellow job-seekers out there!
SARAH’S LIST OF INTERVIEW DO’S and DON’TS
1. Buy a nice suit.
Or at least a nice outfit, depending on how formal your job interview is expected to be. This is for several reasons: (a) You want to walk in feeling confident and looking your best. Feeling confident will show in your attitude, demeanor and voice. Also, (b) if you’re neck and neck with a fellow contender, they’re going to choose the person who looked the part. Lastly, (c) it’s always expected that you’re going to dress DOWN from the interview on. So don’t show up in sloppy attire, because to them, that just means you’ll look really bad once you’re actually working. ;)
2. Print extra copies of your resume and reference letters.
After each and every interview, I’ve had someone ask me for an extra resume which they forgot to print. One time, HR didn’t have a copy of my reference letters and asked for this as well. You never want to show up looking unprepared!
3. Research the company.
First of all, I know how desperate the job hunt can be. But you have to convince yourself not to take any job that you feel uncomfortable with. Really. You want to find out if you’ll fit in with the company’s policies, ideas, beliefs. Is the company expanding? Can you grow there? Is there room for development and growth? Look at the company website, facebook, news articles, etc.
And, of course, it’s good to know where the company is heading. You want to show them that if they hire you, you can help them reach their goals!
4. Know thyself.
In other words, spend a day or two just going through your past experiences. A former professor gave me this advice, and I can not express how important this is.
You’ll never know all the questions that will be asked on interview day. But remembering that time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you dealt with it, or that day when you had a super busy/stressful day and how you dealt with that, will serve you well. You can bring in your personal experiences with most of the questions that will be asked. And, you’ll feel prepared.
5. Have a strong resume.
Keep it organized and straightforward. Read through it time and time again. Have good, honest people look it over for you as well and ask them what they think (would they hire you?)
6. Be yourself.
The best interviews that I’ve had were the ones when I convinced myself to just relax and be myself. These are the ones when I was told by the hiring managers that I was an extremely close contender. Relax. Breathe. Don’t be afraid to show them your personality!
7. Think of something that makes you stand out.
Food blogger? Active in the community? Author of a newsletter? Involved in leadership positions? Active at your church? Experience working with various age groups/personalities?
Think of the things that really make you pop out from other people so that they’ll remember you come decision day!
8. Don’t talk too much.
I have this problem. Big time. The worst interviews I’ve had have been the ones where I gab on and on about myself, only to realize that I’ve been side tracked from the original question (gulp!…never a good thing!) People want straight forward answers. Keep it simple and be specific!
9. Review popular questions.
Google “popular job interview questions” and spend some time thinking them over. You’ll go to your interview feeling prepared.
10. Shake off excess energy.
I’m always a bundle of nerves before an interview. Going for a run or a long walk beforehand really calms me down and brings everything into perspective.
11. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Give yourself a pat on the back for doing your best.
We all have good interview and bad interview experiences (trust me on that one!) Give yourself permission to cry a little or to vent to a friend or to get upset for an hour or two. But then pick yourself back up, shake off the dirt, and carry on. It takes one YES to make this all worth it. Keep plugging away. Learn from your mistakes.
And then, move forward.
QUESTION: What are your top interview do’s and don’ts?