7 Little Known Tips to Help Rock Your Interview
You’ve scoured Monster, Career Builder, Indeed and countless other job sites. You’ve created a LinkedIn account. You’ve created a killer resume. You’ve applied to more jobs than you can count on your hands ten times over. And what do you get? No response. Until one day… Finally, you get a call for an interview!
But now what? You have no idea what to expect or how to prepare for your first “real world, big girl/boy job interview.” Don’t sweat it. Here to help rescue you, in no particular order, are 7 little yet game changing tips to help you stay golden, Ponyboy.
Interview tips for college students
1. Study Up
The biggest no-no you can make in a job interview? Come unprepared. It’s a surefire way to get dismissed early. Read the job description. No, don’t just skim it like you did out of glee when you first got the call. Really read it again and again and again. Doing research also means you must look into the company itself. Visit their website, learn what they’re about and look for ways you can contribute to their mission statement and be sure to flaunt your newfound knowledge come interview time. Not only will it impress their socks off but proves your serious interest in the job.
2. Here’s My Card
Don’t have a business? Well neither do I but that didn’t stop me from creating my own business card. Best of all, you can get them for free. Vistaprint.com is the place you’ll find multiple styles of the 150 cards they’ll send to your door free of charge. You’ll be amazed by how many audible “wow’s” a simple hunk of cardstock will get you.
3. Make Copies. Many Copies.
Personalized is the key word here. Go ahead and print off that cover letter that helped get you the interview, it can’t hurt and while your at it, make it personal to each interviewer. You only need to print off one copy of your resume, right? Wrong, always bring more. More is better than not enough. I’ve had two additional interviewers sprung on me at the last minute with only one copy of my resume. Make an extra copy for yourself, too.
4. Dress Code
Obviously everyone knows to dress up for an interview, better overdressed than under. Here’s where my philosophy comes in: Ladies, if you know your interviewer is a male, choose a dress or skirt over that pair of pants. I’m just saying, we’re all adults here but don’t be mistaken, there is a serious line not to be crossed: Don’t show your cleavage, don’t be revealing and please don’t wear clothes that look so tight as though they appear to be painted on you. That’s not attractive, that’s what we call a big ho bag. That being said, a little leg never hurt anyone…
5. Crank Out a Thank You
Once you get back from your interview, immediately while the interview is still fresh in your mind (and the interviewers), write them a thank you (yes, go buy a pack of thank you cards) for their time, reiterating your skills for the position and any helpful tidbit you might not have had a chance to mention during the interview. Hand deliver the card to them at work, snail mail it if you think you have time before they make a hiring decision or if it was a phone interview, email them a professional looking thank you letter. P.S. Hand delivering is a way to snag some automatic brownie points.
6. Nerves, Confidence & Being Stumped
I don’t care who you are, interviews are far from easy for everyone. You don’t know what to expect, you’re automatically judged upon entering the room, you’re pressured with endless questions, it’s basically the timid soul’s ultimate nightmare. Your best bet, regardless of what you may be feeling inside is to grin and bare it. Under no circumstances do you ever want to say, “Sorry, I’m just really nervous.” Confidence is key, cocky not so much. There’s a definite difference. If you don’t know, learn it. When asked a question you don’t know the answer to right away, never say, “Well that’s a good question” or “May I have a minute to think?” They asked to stump you, call their bluff by asking them to repeat or rephrase the question so you’ll have a few extra seconds to think. Worst case senario, if you still haven’t thought of one, take a few moments to think silently. There’s no need to broadcast that you don’t know and need a second.
7. Questions, Questions, Questions
I don’t care if you’ve got nothing to ask because they’ve already answered anything, ASK something to show you care. My biggest ones are, “What is the next step?” and “When do you plan on making a hiring decision?” If you want to ask about the controversial touchy subject of salary during the first interview, that’s your call. I’ve done it both ways and found it to be just fine. Besides, it’s a job. You’re not getting a job because you want to, it’s because you have to make a living and wage is what makes that possible. If they’re a human being, they’ll understand. All those questions already been answered? Ask them about themselves; how long they’ve been with the company, if they enjoy their position, etc. After all, who doesn’t love talking about themselves?