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We all know how difficult the job market is, especially fresh out of college. Some internships even require work experience. Am I the only one who played sports and binge watched TV as a child? Anyway, here are some top tips from Forbes, US News, and Quint Careers to ace that interview and land the job.
- Do your research
- This one is a bit obvious, but dig a little deeper than the homepage of the company website. Check out their earnings reports if they are available, get as much information as possible about the job position, and look up key employees, including the hiring manager and the conductor of the interview.
- Prepare questions and responses to common questions
- It is extremely important to be prepared for an interview (obviously!), but do not memorize responses. Just like you shouldn’t read off of a PowerPoint presentation, don’t memorize responses to common interview questions. It is extremely obvious and makes you look bad. Don’t forget to ask questions either. Yes, you are the one being interviewed, but that does not mean you cannot ask questions and it is actually highly recommended.
- Dress for success
- A rule of thumb is that it is better to be overdressed than under, but try to research the company profile to determine their dress code. Some companies prefer casual everyday than just casual Fridays, but don’t dress in jeans and assume it’s a casual company. Don’t smoke or eat before an interview and have your clothes fitted and properly cleaned. Make sure your breath is on point, but don’t chew gum.
- Do not be late
- This one should be easy enough, right? Although you shouldn’t be late for any appointment you may have, this one is a bit more important than a doctors appointment. Try to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment and by “arrive” I mean be IN the office. Don’t look for parking 15 minutes before the appointment, get inside the office and ready to go early. Of course have a notepad, extra copies of your resume, and a pen with you.
- Learn how to give a handshake
- I took a communications course my senior year of college and my professor took time to give each student a handshake and then critiqued them on how it would impact their interview. Luckily, I grew up in a house full of testosterone so I can give a pretty firm handshake, but the floppy fish handshake can make things a bit awkward. No one likes a clammy hand! For the best results to show that you have strong leadership skills and are confident, give a nice firm handshake with a bit of eye contact. Hiring managers are trained to read body language and something as small as a handshake can give off a lot of information.
- Be authentic, calm, and confident
- The goal here is to proceed to the next step in the interview process so you will want to provide quality responses with a great delivery. Respond with authenticity and honesty. Provided great examples of problems and solutions you have encountered and some accomplishments. Don’t embellish (too much) and keep it short and simple. What don’t you do? Talk smack about your previous employers. This interview is for you and about you. If they ask why you are searching for a new job, be honest, but don’t get too deep into troubles with your previous employers.
- Avoid bad habits
- As I said before, hiring managers are trained to read body language. Don’t fidget, play with your hair or a pen, slouch, or mumble. Smile, make eye contact, sit up straight, and be an active listener.
Another rule of thumb? Avoid anything Peter Griffin would do.