Going on a job interview can be scary. What do I wear? What do I say? How do I let them know I am the best candidate for the job? Follow these guidelines to help prepare you for your next interview.
Look the Part
You don’t need a new wardrobe, but coming to an interview appropriately dressed can make a great first impression. Generally you want to dress a little nicer than what you think may be required at the job. If its a corporate job, you should wear more formal business attire, but for most jobs a dress shirt and slacks or a skirt are a great option. You could also opt for a blazer or sport coat, and for women a dress is another option. Make sure your hair is neat and clean and you look like you care and have taken time to groom your appearance.
Be Yourself, but Your Best Self
Maybe you are more introverted than outgoing, but at an interview, its important to show that you have great communication skills. Be confident in yourself and use your body posture to show this. Don’t slouch or fidget too much, as it can distract the interviewer. As you begin to talk about your skills, especially if you’re well prepared, the nerves should subside and you will feel much better as time passes.
Know Your Skills
Above all else, Its important to know how to describe your skills to the person interviewing you. Make sure you know specific skills you learned at previous jobs. If you’ve never worked before, talk about skills you learned at school or in extra-curricular activities. Be ready to talk about leadership roles and responsibilities you’ve had in multiple roles in the past. Be sure to include any on the job training you’ve received when asked about your skills.
Know Your Weaknesses
As corny as it seems, many interviewers will ask about your weaknesses. Think of them as areas you can improve on. Are you poor at organizing? Tell them you are learning to better organize your tasks and materials and tell them how you’re accomplishing this. Perhaps you’re taking an online course in organization skills. If you’re not strong in leadership, say you want to build your leadership skills in a new career. Knowing that weaknesses are just areas to improve can make it easier to discuss them with a possible employer.
Anecdotes and Examples
You will get questions that ask how you have handled specific situations in the work place, such as upset customers or product failures or staff problems. Answer honestly on how you would handle these situations. It is best to use an example of a real life situation that you’ve handled in that area. For example, if you’ve had a customer with a defective product, rather than answer hypothetically, use that story as an example of how your skills came into play to solve a problem. If you’ve never encountered this specific situation, think of a situation in your life that would require similar skills and tell that anecdote.
Come with Questions
It is important that you do research on the company that you are interested in working for. Find out about their business policies, their history and what you think you can bring to the table. Ask specific questions about the company. A great question would be, “What is my day to day work schedule going to be?” Though most jobs vary from day to day, the interviewer can give you detailed information about what you can expect. Doing research and asking questions shows initiative and drive.
Bring All Requested Materials
It is key that if any documentation is required of you, that you bring it with you. If you don’t, they may not see you as a candidate who took the interview seriously. It can be a good idea, especially if not requested on the application, to bring your references or letters of recommendation with you to the interview. You may also want to bring a copy of your resume with you as well. You may not need to give them to the interviewer, but being prepared is important.
If you follow these tips, you will definitely be on the right path to finding the job that works best for you. Being yourself and showing the interviewer how great you are and how well you know skills can be the difference between a call back or not getting the job. Best of luck to each of you on your career journey.