I'm back with another installment of my tips for success series for recent college and university graduates.
SUCCEEDING AT JOB INTERVIEWS
So, you've made it to the interview stage. This means that the recruiter and the potential employer liked your resume and the initial phone screening procedure. Now it's time to prepare for an in-person interview. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression!
The following interview tips are timeless. Follow these rules and you'll put your best foot forward every time.
Curious as to what to wear to a job interview? You should be dressed in formal business attire. Be an individual, but always remember to keep it professional. Check my previous blog "Dress for success".Bonus Tip – Make sure your hair is cut and neatly styled, and your fingernails are trimmed.
Do your homework
There are two important things you must do before your interview: research the company to understand what the company is about, and, devise a list of thoughtful questions to ask.
Use all of the online research tools at your fingertips to find out who runs the company, how it is performing, what challenges it presently faces and how it plans to grow. If you've done your research correctly, you should be able to perform a rudimentary SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the company.
Bonus Tip – Read the company's financial statements, it will give you a thorough knowledge where the company stands today.
If you know the name of the interviewer, you should research him or her as well. Find the person on LinkedIn. You'll know how long they've been at the company, where they've worked in the past, and what some of their professional interests are. You might even find that you've gone to the same school, or have been members of the same groups - instant icebreakers!
If you're in school, your career services centre may be able to help with mock interviews. If you've graduated, consider asking a trusted friend or a mentor to interview you for practice.
Bonus Tip – Humber graduate or Alumni, visit Career center – they have tons of good things to tell you and can help with your resume or mock interviews. All other college or universities have career centre's as well, so you should check them out. I mention Humber because I am a proud Humber Alumni. "Humber Hawks Rock".
If possible, scout out the location ahead of time so you know exactly where you're going and how long it takes to get there. Err on the side of being early rather than late. Showing up a little early may show you're eager. Showing up a little late may disqualify you from the process.\
Accidents sometimes happen - and, of course, they can happen on the way to an interview. It's important to have your recruiter's phone number programmed into your phone. If something does happen, call the recruiter immediately so that he or she can inform the interviewer and reschedule the appointment.
During and after
During the interview, always be confident. But, remember, there's such a thing as too much confidence or over confidence. If you become boastful, you might disengage the interviewer. Also, begin the interview with a serious tone. If the interviewer becomes more personable, you can too.
Take the interviewer's business card at the end of the meeting. This will provide you with an email and physical address to send thank you notes. Try to send the email thank you right away, and the written note within a day or two. Written thank you notes are really rare, so by sending one, you'll stand out.
At the end of the interview, be sure to ask about next steps. You don't want to leave the office without asking who is going to reach out to you next, and when that conversation is expected to happen.
Every interviewer I've met has his or her horror stories - extreme lateness, rude attitude or overall unprofessionalism. Your goal is to never be an interviewer's horror story. Strive to be a success story!
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