So, you’re a recent graduate? Recently unemployed? Looking for work? You’re like thousands of others. Unless, you’ve been living in a hole….under a rock….or on another planet, you know that the job market is ultra-competitive thanks to the worst financial crisis in 80 years and a 9.5 percent unemployment rate. Job hunting is a full-time job in itself, with various stages. Avoid the rejection pile by interviewing like a professional with these tips to land you the gig of your dreams (or at least one that will pay the bills).
1. Pack Like a Professional
Be prepared with extra copies of your resume, examples of your work, and something to write with. Even if you have already submitted your resume online (and they obviously got it, hence the interview), having hard copies is crucial-especially if you’re interviewing with more than one person.
2. Know the Dress Code
There’s a really cheesy saying that holds true about how to dress for a job interview: dress to impress. If you walk into an interview in dirty khakis and a wrinkled shirt, you’ve already lost the opportunity. No matter what the job is, when you look in the mirror, two words need to come to mind: neat and clean. So, unless you are applying somewhere very casual, wear a suit. You can always dress it down with a colorful top or a funky piece of jewelry for a more business-casual setting. Just be sure to stay away from anything low-cut or too form fitting.
3. Be on Time
Walk in late and you might as well walk back to your car. Nothing screams “irresponsible” more than a tardy arrival, and employers won’t take lightly to you wasting their time. Eliminate any risk of being late by printing directions the night before and you might consider taking a test drive to the location, plugging the route into your GPS, and leaving with plenty of spare time for wrong turns or gridlock.
4. Kill ’em with Confidence
You don’t want to act like you own the place, but smiling and making eye contact with your interviewer will show that you believe in yourself and your abilities and that you’ve got poise. Put out vibes that say, “I’m the perfect person for this job.”
5. Give Straight Answers
Almost every interviewer will ask you to tell them one of your weaknesses. Don’t make the mistake of saying that you work too hard. Instead, be self-aware enough to notice a fault, and follow with how you’ve been working to overcome the challenge.
6. Do your Research
Before you show up on the steps of your future employer’s place of business, you must recognize an important element of a job interview: the wooing. You must impress the interviewer with your knowledge about the company and the industry. After all, they’ll have loads of information about you, so don’t you think you should even the score? Gather as much information on the company as you can. First and foremost, check out the company Web site. This will give you a good overview of the company’s philosophy, earning power, and the power players in the office. You can also research major newspaper sites to see how the company is fairing in the media.
7. Know the Next Step
You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress checking your voicemails and inbox by asking the interviewer what the next steps are and when they might occur. It will also help you plan when to follow up.
8. Leave with Business Cards
After each interview, request a business card from whomever you meet. Write a thank-you note (or e-mail if the position is being filled quickly) reiterating your interest in the job, and be sure to send it off as soon as possible.
9. Avoid Stalker Tendencies
Sure, you haven’t thought about much besides the interview since it happened, but remember that not everything revolves around you. Call to follow up, but if they say they’re making a decision by Friday, resist the urge to pick up the phone at 4 p.m. that day. Stuff happens – people get sick or busy or have to deal with a sudden hold in the hiring process. So chill out.
10. Don’t burn bridges
If by some crazy chance you don’t get the gig, avoid slamming down the phone. Instead, express your appreciation that they considered you and ask that they keep you in mind for openings down the road.
The information above isn’t new or groundbreaking. However, everyone can collect great benefit from reviewing these easy tips. In a market this competitive, be assured that any edge you have over candidates has great possibility to catapult you above the rest. With endless possibilities, comes great opportunities. As Emily Dickson would say, “I dwell in possibility.”
Molly Hallgren, Celebrity Staff Recruiter
Molly Hallgren has worked as a Recruiter with Celebrity Staff since August of 2009. Molly searches for top talent by networking, sourcing, and referrals. In previous positions, she has managed marketing activity for a national N.P.O. and directed corporate salon sales for a Nebraska distributor. She also writes movie reviews for a radio station in Chicago and enjoys sharing her critiques on air. Originally from Cleveland, OH, Molly graduated with a B.B.A in Marketing and Communication. Outside of work she enjoys basketball, bike riding, and road trips.