Unemployment is up and the completion for available jobs is higher than it has been in years, perhaps decades. If you are one of the many who are seeking employment, how can you maximize your chances of getting the job once you have been granted that all so important interview?
Having a good resume and a solid work history is important, but employers see a lot of good resumes, especially these days. You will want to spend some time on your resume and make certain it is done professionally and presents you in the best possible light. Your resume’s job is to get your foot in the door, to get you an interview. Once you are in the door, your resume is far less important than how you present yourself. Employers want to meet you, to see how you handle yourself, and to get a feel for the kind of person you are. The interview is where jobs are won or lost, so be prepared.
Here are a few tips which can give you an advantage during the interview process.
1) You want to be taken seriously, so dress seriously – If the company believes in business casual, then fine, dress down after you get the job. Go into the interview looking your best. Make certain your clothes fit you properly, and no wrinkles. Dress in a professional manner. It is hard to dress to well for an interview.
2) For the women – don’t dress sexy. A low cut blouse or short skirt might get you asked out on Friday night, but serious employers will see it as cheap. There is also the chance you may be interviewed by a woman who will think of you as cheap, or possibly as competition. Dress nice, but keep it modest.
3) Do your research – Know something about the company you are interviewing with. Almost everyone has access to the Internet and there is no excuse for going into an interview without a basic knowledge of the company. It will show you have initiative, and it could save you from looking foolish.
4) Get a hair cut – Make certain your hair is styled and looks neat. You also need to make certain you trim other hairy areas, such as ears and nose. You don’t want the interviewer distracted by that long hair protruding from your ear.
5) Display confidence – Speak in a firm voice and speak loud enough to be heard. Timid is never good. You must project the feeling you are the right person for this job and that not only do you know it, but you need to leave no doubt in the interviewer’s mind as well. If you can’t show you believe in yourself, why should they?
6) Tattoos and Piercings – These are all personal preferences, but you never know the personal preference of the person who will be interviewing you. With so many candidates seeking jobs, the slightest little thing can drop you out of contention. If possible, cover all your tattoos. Remove and piercings which are visible, with the exception of earrings. Guys, you may want to think about removing those as well. Times have changed, but not that much.
7) Make eye contact – When speaking to the interviewer be certain to make eye contact when speaking or listening to them. Also, give a firm handshake when you meet them. These first impressions are critical and making eye contact not only shows confidence, it denotes honesty.
8) Don’t make up answers – If you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer, DO NOT make one up. You are interviewing for a job, you are expected to be competent, but you are not expected to know everything. It is better to admit you don’t have the answer that to be caught making up a lie. Again, do a little research.
9) Volunteer information, when appropriate – Interviewers cannot ask you about your family or personal life. However, this does not mean you cannot work some of this information into your responses. If you are applying at a family oriented company, it may serve you well for them to know you have three kids and you are active in their lives. Pick and choice what you decide to tell and make certain any information you divulge is to your benefit. If it won’t help you, keep it to yourself.
10) Post Interview – When the interview is completed be certain to thank the person for their time. Once you leave, follow up with a personal thank you note to the person who interviewed you. This little extra effort might make the difference if you are among the finalist, or it may just get you to the finalist round.