Ace Interviews – Learn how to market yourself effectively
The company of your dreams liked your resume enough to call you in for the real test, THE INTERVIEW. You know you’re qualified for the job, but will they?
For good reason, many people are terrified of interviews. It is stressful having someone critique every word out of your mouth and every move you make. However, it is important to remember that most interviewers aren’t looking for that one “right” answer. They’re examining your communication skills (both verbal and nonverbal), your preparedness and how you carry yourself under pressure. The Web is full of great sources to help you prepare.
Practice Makes Perfect
Because the interviewee will never know exactly what the interviewer will ask, it is important to be prepared for a broad range of questions and situations. Look to Master the Interview | An Employer’s View of the Interview for an comprehensive article from the employer’s perspective. Be prepared to answer possible interview questions such as:
Tell me about yourself?
What is your favorite book? Why?
What do you really want to do in life?
How would your previous employer describe you?
Why did you leave your previous job?
Do you work well under pressure?
How do you handle conflict?
In previous jobs, have you helped increase sales?
From the very general “Tell me about yourself?” to the more specific, “In your previous jobs, have you helped increase sales?,” experts agree that comprehensive, clear and concise answers are a must. In other words, a happy medium between “yes/no” and baring your soul. Be ready to engage in conversation so employers can see your personality and enthusiasm. Practice is very important. Have a friend pretend he/she is your prospective empoyer. Videotape the entire process from entering the room to saying goodbye, then review your answers, comments, body language and facial expressions. This process will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Check out online sources for more general interviewing tips and preparation check lists. Rasmussen College’s Tips for Interviews guide offers some fantastic advice and tips for interview preparation and followthru in an easy-to-follow graphic.
While going through the interview, it is important to recognize two things. You only have one chance to make a first impression and appearance IS important to prospective employers. As much as we hope your skills and intellect will be the deciding factors in the hiring process, other factors will come into play. The bottom line is that a clean and neat appearance speaks volumes, as does a wrinkled and careless look. Those first impressions, (“she looks very organized, approachable and alert”; “his hair is hanging in his face and his shirt has coffee stains on it”; “she looks like she just rolled out of bed”; “he cared enough about this job to shine his shoes,” etc.) will be noted by prospective employers.
An interview is not the time to make a fashion statement. Your outfit should communicate professionalism. Dressing for Interview Success offers a very basic outline of appropriate dress for interviews. This site helps answer that pesky question, “What is the difference between business and business casual?” If you’re interviewing with a high-powered firm, be conservative from head to toe. Dressing for an interview at a seemingly lower-key office is different . But no matter how artsy or casual you’ve heard the office is, business casual is still the way to go. In any situation, hair and makeup should be kept understated. Check out some of the other sites mentioned in this feature for more general tips on interview dressing.
We’ve all had nightmares before a big test, the first day of school or an important interview. Ever had a dream where you’ve arrived late and naked, you’re lost and can’t find a map or your interviewer is a green monster with 12 arms? Some people’s nightmares came true! We hope you’ll never be asked to “pretend to be a hippopotamus playing polo” or answer questions like “Can you recite the alphabet backwards?” or “If you were part of a chicken, which part would you be?” For more Humorous interviewing stories and tips on How not to get hired, visit A&A Resume. Comments like “I’m late because my mom didn’t wake me up on time” and “I need at least $40K because the cost of cocaine has really gone up” are sure to get your resume put in the “round file” (trash can).
Know Your Rights
When an interviewer’s questions go beyond odd and become inappropriate, you should be aware of your rights. Questions regarding religion, marital status, sexual preference and age are illegal. CollegeGrad.com has a feature on “How to Handle Illegal Questions” that offers a good outline of what questions are illegal and how to respond to them.
So, arm yourself with a good resume, a respectable outfit, a reliable alarm clock, a solid knowledge of the company, well-thought-out answers to an array of questions, then practice and take a deep breath. GOOD LUCK!
Job search by state | city | or industry