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Job Interview Tips- Get That Job!
Job Interview Tips
Job Interview Tips- Getting the Interview
A slow economy and an even slower job market has created opportunities for job seekers to tap into their creative juices in order to be noticed by potential employers. Employers are receiving sometimes hundreds of resumes for one position and narrowing down the search can be daunting. As an employer, I know how to sift through the resumes to find the few that stand out and, believe it or not, writing skills play a major role.
The first thing to realize when applying for jobs is that employers know when you’re sending a generic resume. It drives me nuts when applicants apply for a specific job and their resume lists work experience that has nothing to do with the job they’re applying for. That alone tells me the applicant is lazy and probably didn’t take the time to research the requirements and qualifications. Make sure you tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for. I post positions for case management openings in the human services field and it never fails, I’ll receive resumes from auto technicians, welders and anything in between. My point is, make your resume relevant to the job.
If a company requests a cover letter to accompany your resume, send one. I’ll be the first to admit that I hate writing cover letters. I think they’re a nightmare to write and I've actually avoided applying to jobs in the past if a cover letter was required. I’ll also admit that the company I work for mandates cover letters to accompany all resumes and they’re usually the last thing I look at when considering an applicant unless there are special circumstances. I generally will look at the resume and make sure the basic qualifications and education requirements are met. If both are satisfied, then I read more about the candidate, including the cover letter. If an applicant fails to send a cover letter or just writes a few sentences in an email, it gets passed over. You can find samples of how to write a great cover letter here.
Time for the Interview
You've done your homework on the company your applying to, you've tailored your resume to meet the requirements and qualifications for that job and you've written a powerful cover letter. You get the call to meet a representative of the company for an interview, now what?
Please, please make sure you wear a tie and preferably a suit. It conveys respect for the position, the interviewer and yourself. It's also what professionals do. Also, please make sure your suit is from this decade. I've had many applicants come in for an interview wearing the same suit they were probably married in twenty years earlier. It doesn't have to be a brand new suit, but make sure it's consistent with the company's culture, which you should know a little about if you did your homework, which brings me to the next point.
Visit the company's website prior to the interview and make a note of one or more unique characteristics about the company or the site. This conveys your interest level in the company and shows the interviewer you know how to use a computer. Believe it or not, there are still people that are terrified of using computers. I don't have time to spoon feed people the basics of how the internet works or how to create a spreadsheet. This is especially important if you'll be working with computers for more than fifty percent of your job.
Be courteous, and greet the interviewer by name, if available. If you don't have this information handy, then memorize it when introductions are made and try to use their name(s) during the interview if it seems appropriate. This conveys your confidence level and listening skills. Wait to be seated until someone directs you where to sit. Occasionally seating can play an important role in an interview, especially if there are more than one interviewer. If multiple interviewers are sitting on one side of the table and they direct you to sit on the opposite by yourself, you can expect a more structured interview. If they sit on the same side or are on the opposite side but sitting towards you, you can expect a more relaxed interview. There are of course exceptions to these rules.
If you don't understand a question, ask. It's super annoying when I ask a candidate a question and they stumble through it trying to give me some kind of answer that sounds legitimate. I ask complex questions for a purpose and that's to learn the candidate's organizational skills and how they can present information in a stressful environment. Also, make sure you answer the question fully. Don't make the interviewer prompt you to answer the the rest of the question. This isn't an automatic disqualifier, but it makes things run less smooth and shows you're either very nervous or you're not detailed minded.
Answer questions in depth based on your experiences within your professional and personal life. Use compelling examples if you have any to prove points and backup your claims. Try to avoid being long winded but give enough information to answer each question with accuracy and depth. Interviewers want to know about you as a person, so incorporate some examples from your personal life as well. You're almost there!
The interview is almost over and you've answered the questions in depth and provided great examples from your experiences to backup your claims. Most interviews end with the interviewer asking you if you have any questions. Please make sure you have some questions to ask. Occasionally interviewers will provide most of the details about the position and company during the interview, but try to find out specifics about the culture of the company, your possible colleagues, subordinates if applicable and your direct supervisor. Act as if you have the job without saying it.
Asking questions conveys your level of interest and importance of the decision. If everything has been answered up front, tell the interviewer some of the questions you were pondering but they did a great job of providing clarity.
Send a personal thank you card in the mail within twenty -four hours after the interview. This will set you apart from probably ninety percent of the other candidates and again conveys your level of interest in the position. Sign the card and print your name under it and send it off.
Hopefully, you'll receive a pleasant phone call from a representative from the company offering you the position or inviting you for a second interview. If not, consider it practice and move on to the next.