Applying for a job involves producing two very important pieces of work: a great resume and a stellar interview. Following are some tips to make you shine at that important interview and overcome the tight competition.
Researchthe company you are trying to work for. You may answer questions about how you fit into the company in a specific way. Make note of any recent changes that have happened at the company or any awards they won. Mentioning at interview things that show you have researched them will make a good impression.
- Get there on time. Find out a least a day before where the interview is to take place exactly and if you can, go through a dry run where you time how long it takes you to get there. On the day, leave in plenty of time to compensate for unexpected traffic, a flat tire or similar. Arrive about ten minutes early for your interview.
- Looks count so make sure you are freshly showered with neat hair and nails. Do not make the mistake of forgetting to polish your shoes! Take a spare pair of stockings if you are a woman, in case you snag them on something. Make up should be appropriate for daytime or evening and not too over-the-top. If you are a man, don’t forget to shave. The stubble look is only okay if you are applying for a job in a band. Men should have clean fingernails too!
- Practice answering some typical questions with someone you trust. This will help you deal with nerves and make sure you are well-prepared with answers. Remember to smile.
- Prepare references by people who can sing your praises. Get permission beforehand so they are prepared if called by your prospective employer.
- Turn your cell phone off before the interview! Nothing says “I dont respect your time” like a cell phone ringing or buzzing through an interview. Answering it is a disqualification.
- Take any necessary documents and copies such as certificates, portfolio samples and the like. If you worked on a special project with a previous employer, say organizing a community event, bring the flyer or relevant newspaper clippings.
- Let them know why you are the best person for the job. Mention your strengths, relevant experience and generally highlight important parts of your resume. You can be more specific than your resume allowed you to be and give more detail as to projects you were involved in or achievements in previous jobs.
- Ask questions about the company and what they are offering with the post. The job ad was probably brief and not too specific. You will make a good impression by being prepared and asking relevant questions.
- Follow up the interview. If you do not hear anything, call up to see if they have made the final decision or if they are calling candidates back for a second interview.
Finally, do keep in mind that competition is fierce and candidates are well-prepared. The company has to make a choice and sometimes there is an element of luck involved. If you do not get the job, put the interview down to experience and start preparing for the next.