We polled our consultants on how they prepared their candidates for an interview. The results varied a bit depending on the candidate and his or her unique personality. It seems as though some people are just born to interview. They can talk their way into getting an offer no matter the position, the company or the specific requirements. For the rest of us, the interview process may seem daunting and can often result in sweaty palms and a dry mouth. Luckily, we’re here with our TOP 5 suggestions to help you prepare so that you can walk into any interview confident and sweat free.
1. NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE
You won’t receive service in a restaurant if you aren’t dressed appropriately. And the same theory applies to your job interviews. Recruiters, hiring managers, or whoever is conducting your interview is not going to perceive you as a serious candidate if you are not dressed properly. Our advice: INVEST IN A QUALITY SUIT.
Don’t panic. You don’t need to buy an over-priced designer label outfit. Hit the sales at a big-name department store, weed through the racks at places like Marshall’s or TJ MAXX. You may end up working in an office that has a casual dress code or doesn’t require you to wear a suit every day. So don’t go overboard, but remember that the interview is your chance to impress. And, as we’ve said before and will most likely say again, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
2. ONE, TWO, THREE….. GO!
Have you ever noticed how we HAVE to count to THREE before we “go” – no matter where we are going? If we “go” on TWO we’re too early. If we “go” on FOUR we’re too late and we have to start counting again until we get it right on THREE. So THREE seems to be the magic number.
So what does the number THREE have to do with your job search? Well, we actually have THREE pieces of advice:
- Proofread your resume THREE times. Spelling mistakes, bad grammar and formatting issues (ha! 3 things – see?) will immediately knock you out of the running for any position.
- Bring at least THREE copies of your resume with you for every interview. You may be asked to meet with more than one person and being prepared will win you some points.
- Be prepared for possibly THREE different kinds of interviews. Many hiring managers will start the interview process with a phone screen or possibly a video conference call (i.e. Skype). The next step could be either an in-person interview or perhaps, if this happens to be a confidential search, you may be asked to meet off site at the staffing agency’s office or another corporate location. You may also be asked to return for follow-up interviews . Our consultants often have candidates go through a 4-5 round interview process. Anything is possible, so stay flexible.
3. WE’RE IN BOSTON…NOT THE BAYOU
We’re just as intrigued and, perhaps, as confused as the next person by the beards on the men featured on a certain reality tv series based on a certain family duck call business. Luckily we can turn the channel and we thankfully don’t have to encounter their facial hair on a daily basis. But if you are male and someone who has gone ‘red neck’ with your grooming regiment, it’s time for a reality check. Our advice: ask yourself these THREE (again!) questions:
- Am I seeking a career as a ‘stand-in’ for a family member and/or employee on that certain reality tv series?
- Do I have aspirations of joining the popular 80’s band, ZZ Top?
- Is my ultimate life goal to be a hermit in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia?
If you answered ‘NO’ to all THREE questions and you are planning on being employed in the near future, our advice: SHAVE.
4. CLASSES MAY BE OVER, BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO DO YOUR RESEARCH
You may have been able to pull off a passing grade or two without ever cracking a book (or logging on to the class website) but in order to pass this oral exam – also known as an interview – you have know your facts. Our advice: DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
No matter what company you are interviewing with, you need to be prepared. Study the company’s website; read the company blog and press releases; know the management structure; learn about the industry; familiarize yourself with the products and/or services; check out the company benefits; find out everything you can. Having this knowledge will allow you to ask educated questions and will also help you respond to questions with intelligent answers that are in alignment with the company philosophy. Employers like to hire smart, educated and informed candidates.
5. REMEMBER WHAT YOUR PARENTS TAUGHT YOU
In case you don’t remember (we understand you might be in the middle of finals or ‘Senior Week’) we’re going to pass along some parental advice in addition to some expert advice (we are experts in this field after all). Our advice: IT’S FREE. SO TAKE IT.
- Have a confident and firm (somewhere between limp and crushing) hand shake
- Stand up straight.
- Don’t chew gum (in an interview).
- Say please and thank you.
- Brush your hair.
- Don’t smoke (before an interview – or drink anything other than water, just for the record).
Send a follow-up Thank You note to everyone you met with (we suggest written vs. email).
- Be on time.
- Wear clean underwear.
- Shut off your cellphone/tablet before you enter the building.
If you are graduating soon, enjoy the next few weeks. However, if you haven’t started your job search yet, the sooner you start the better. Competition for jobs will be fierce and if you are prepared and you are able to get your foot in the door before the crazy ‘job-seeking mob’ appears, consisting of other graduating seniors and existing, actively-looking candidates, you’ll be ahead of the game.
If you are a graduating college senior and are looking for some direction and advice regarding your job search, click here to find out about KNF&T’s ‘Walk-In Wednesdays’ taking place on April 30th, May 7th and May 14th in our Boston office.
To find out more about KNF&T Staffing Resources, visit our website www.knft.com, or contact us.