Seven tips to help you land the job during the interview
TINA L. SCOTT
You got the call: they want you to come in for an interview. Or perhaps you’re applying at an employer that does on-the-spot interviews. Be prepared before you walk in the door. Here are five tips to help you land the job during the interview.
1. Show up. On time. Better yet, be early. This should go without saying, but a great number of employers in recent years report that job candidates don’t even show up for their scheduled interviews. Plan ahead for possible delays and get there about 10 minutes early. This ensures you’ll make your scheduled appointment and shows the employer you will also be prompt if hired.
2. Dress the part. Or one level up. Dress appropriately for the job you’re applying for, or the level above that position, to make a good impression and demonstrate your understanding of the job and the work environment. Yes, it’s okay to wear jeans for an interview if you’re applying to work in a factory out on the floor. A three-piece suit would be totally out of place when interviewing for a welding position, for example. But even if it’s a jeans-appropriate job, don’t wear jeans with stains or holes or t-shirts with slogans and distasteful or distracting graphics. Likewise, clothing shouldn’t be too revealing and makeup and accessories shouldn’t be distracting. You want the focus to be on you and what you’re saying during the interview, not on your clothing or accessories.
3. Bring a copy of your resume or a list of your previous employers, with complete addresses, names, and phone numbers and a list of references with contact information, as well. This should be neatly typed, or if you don’t have a computer, neatly printed so you can either refer to it when completing a formal application or give it to the interviewer to photocopy or keep.
4. Research the company in advance. Go to their website to get a feel for the business and what they do, who their clients or market are, and how large the company is. Check out their social media pages to get an idea of their presence and focus. Google the job title to get an idea of what the job duties and responsibilities for this position might entail, in addition to what may have been listed in any ads for the position. Talk to other people who work for the company, if possible, to get an idea of the company’s work culture.
5. Come prepared to talk about, and focus your answers to questions on, solid examples of your positive traits, your accomplishments, and how you achieved those things. Employers are particularly looking for real-life examples of how you handled specific situations at work in the past. The best indicator of what you will do in the future is what you’ve done in the past, so the saying goes. Demonstrating how you’ve been successful in the past bodes well for your success going forward. So think about potential interview questions in advance to be more prepared. Sidenote: Be sure you don’t purposely or inadvertently badmouth previous employers during the discussion.
6. Be personable. Everyone knows that job interviews are stressful, but hiring managers are human, too. They understand. So be friendly and personable during the interview, be respectful and appropriate, and be genuine. Hiring managers are often looking for a person whose personality will fit into the workplace culture, every bit as much as they are looking for skills and abilities. Many managers agree skills can be taught, but finding a person who is a good fit to work with their existing team is critical to the success of their business and workplace morale.
7. Ask questions. Flip the tables and get answers to the questions you need to know to determine if this is the job for you. The interview is the time to determine whether this is the job you really want and whether this particular company matches your goals, personality, and temperament. It’s not always about landing a job, but more about landing the job that is the best fit for you. If this job isn’t that, it’s best for everyone involved to identify that at this stage of the process.
With some advance preparation and a little research, you can approach a job interview proactively and increase your odds of landing the job that is a great fit for both you and the employer.