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How to Nail a Job Interview
Job Interview Tips
No matter how many you go to, job interviews never seem to get easier. You're always nervous (probably due to all the questions about yourself that you have to answer), concerned over whether or not you dressed right, and, on top of everything, you're pressured to impress with only a limited amount of time to show your stuff. Every time, you can't help but walk out with your fingers crossed, hoping they call you back as you rewind and replay what just happened over and over.
Learning job interview tips is what will help you nail that interview next time around, as long as you practice and keep our chin up despite all the no's you've gotten thus far or may get in the future. Knowing what to prepare for and how is key to bringing up your confidence so that you can't help but strut your stuff with less worry and stress.
What to Wear for a Job Interview
For women, the first thing to make sure that you take care of is your nails. French manicures are always the safest route. Don't wear any bright colors or have really long nails because they can be distracting. If you chew your nails, you may want to get acrylics or something more temporary just for the interview. Nice nails look professional and are more noticeable than you may realize.
Women must also make sure that their hair is done professionally. Pulling it back in a tight bun if it is long is much more professional than just wearing it down and straight. Nylons that are closer to your skin tone are also the best choice, as well as heels that aren't too high (about one to one and a half inches should suffice). Flats are perfectly fine as well. Just make sure your shoe choice isn't too distracting in color or style.
Both men and women should make sure that they are clean and that their choice in clothes reflect the job they're applying for. It never hurts to overdress (in fact, it's better than risking being under-dressed) so if you're unsure how dressed up you should be then just go with your gut.
Common Job Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What do you know about our company?
- Why did you leave your last job? (or why are you leaving your current job?)
- Tell me about your experience at your last job.
- What experience do you have doing [here, list some of the major responsibilities of the job]?
- Tell me about your strengths.
- What is your major weakness?
- What are your career goals?
- What questions do you have for me?
What to Research and How to Prepare for Interview Questions
It's important to do some background research for the company you are applying at if you don't already know about them. This information will not only help you prepare for your outfit, but it will also help you prepare for any questions that you might be asked. Knowing who will be interviewing you by name is also key. You want to show this person that you really want this job and that you are the best fit for this company. Knowing background on them will enable you to prepare your answers so that they relate to that company as well.
After you finish your research, write down potential questions you may be asked at the interview with your answers underneath. Keep in mind, this is not a script. Think of it as a guideline for you so that you aren't completely caught off guard at the interview. You want to be detailed in your responses with specific examples of your strengths and abilities. There are some common job interview questions listed to the right to help you get started.
The last question, "what questions do you have for me," is especially important to prepare for. Try to come up with at least three questions to ask the person interviewing you. Some examples include:
- What is a typical day or week at this position?
- Are there any reservations about my fit for this position that I could try to address?
- What is your timeline for getting back to candidate for the next steps?
The funny part about this portion of the interview is that, even though you're taking over asking the questions, it's still about you. Try your best to formulate questions and respond to their answers in ways that still point out your strengths and why you should get this job.
Tips to Nail a Job Interview
Even though you have done your research, picked an outfit, and prepared your responses, you still have even more preparations before your interview. Make sure that you are neat and clean in appearance and that you have a portfolio ready with good copies of your resume. You may also want to include some blank pieces of paper and bring a pen in case you want to take notes.
When it comes to being on time for an interview, think of "on time" as five or ten minutes early. If you've never been to that company's location before, you may want to take a drive out there before the interview so that you know where it is beforehand and how long it will take to get there.
During the Job Interview
During the interview, there are still some key things to keep in mind:
- Keep calm. Showing up early helps with this. After all the rush and preparation to get there, those extra five to ten minutes spent sitting in the waiting room is a good time to just breathe and regroup. Try to stay as calm as possible once the interview starts. Keep eye contact at all times and listen to the entire question before jumping in and answering.
- Show what you know. Remember, this interview is all about you. Focus more on just showing what you know, rather than trying to be who the interviewer wants for the job. Relate your knowledge of the company to your answers as much as you can and match your accomplishments with what the company is looking for.
- Follow up. Make sure and find out how to follow up with the interview when given the ability to ask your interviewer questions. Sending a note or email afterwards thanking them for their time is always appreciated as well. You want to make sure that they are certain in your interest in the position.
© 2012 LisaKoski