11.14.2012

Interview Prep

Job interviews are inevitable. Whether it be a college student applying for an internship, the recent college graduate trying to be hired on at that dream job, or the stay-at-home mom trying to re-enter the workforce, we all have been there. The only exception may be trust fund babies and trophy wives...which if that's the case, I'm completely envious of you, and I'm sure I'm not alone in my feelings there. Work's overrated. Ha, kidding! I actually do love working. True story. Okay, done with the rabbit trail. 

Being part of a small business owner, having been part of hiring and firing people, and having been ingrained in the corporate world with all my college internships, and immediately after college for a little bit, I hope to provide some insight on things y'all might want to know. 
  • Check yourself out. Evaluate your Facebook page, Instagram page, blog page, Twitter, and any other social media page you may have out there. Y'all, seriously, if it's on the internet, it's not private. I don't care how you have your settings. People talk. And IT departments can get through anything, I promise. Also, google yourself. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but do it. See if there is anything out there that needs to be taken down or deleted. Keep in mind that when a company hires you, you represent them and their reputation, whether you are on or off the job.
  • Check out the company you are interviewing with. Google them, become familiar with their website, ask around to find out what you can. This is the one time it's okay to be a stalker. The last thing you want to do is walk in to an interview with no basic knowledge of your potential employer. 
  • Dress the part. In the corporate world, suits are always a good way to go. If you are interviewing with a small business, a suit is still a good way to go. Dress as professional as possible, but dress for your employer's business. For example, if you are interviewing to work at a fashion magazine, you may want to dress a little more edgier than if you were interviewing at J.P. Morgan. Also: 
    • Make sure your hair is styled and in place (if your hair is long and stringy-I mean that in a good way, I promise-you may want to pull it back in a ponytail or bun for your interview).
    • Have your nails clean and trimmed. If you can afford it, a shellac manicure is an awesome and inexpensive way to go.
    • Shoes and a handbag/briefcase are actually very important. Please, please, please, make sure your shoes look clean and polished. As an employer, it speaks volumes to me when someone walks in with mud and/or scuffs on their shoes. Carry a structured handbag that can fit an envelope or portfolio for your resume.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early and be prepared. Greet the receptionist with a smile on your face. Don't fidget or look nervous. Maintain eye contact. When your interviewer takes you to his/her office, make sure to have your resume easily accessible to hand them, either at the beginning of the interview or when they ask for it. If I were you, I'd offer it at the beginning. Again, maintain eye-contact. 
  • Stay on topic. Don't talk about your personal life or steer the conversation down any rabbit trails. Let your interviewer do that if he/she wants to go there. Be direct and confident in your answers. Don't be long-winded. Also, have any questions that you may have ready and written out in a portfolio or on a legal pad. Avoid questions such as, how much vacation time do I get? How many sick days are built in? What's the pay like? These are not appropriate for a first time interview. You can ask these later. It gives a terrible impression to the people who are thinking about hiring you, I promise. 
  • Be positive. This is probably the most important thing I look for in a potential new employee. A business doesn't want someone who doesn't seem like a team player or who may drag down morale. We are huge here on creating a positive office culture, and I know 99% of other businesses find that to be important too. Do not come across as petty, high-maintenance, or snobby. Remember, you are the one looking for the job. Not them. Also, never speak negatively of a former boss or employer. This may come up in conversation later, but the initial job interview is not the place. Keep in mind that it's never a good idea to burn any bridges, no matter how ticked off you may be. 
  • Follow up with a hand-written thank you note. Once the interview is finished, make sure to shake your interviewer's hand, look them in the eye, and thank them for their time. The next day, thank them again by sending a hand-written thank you note. Make sure to include language like 'you look forward to hearing from them again soon', 'thank you again for your time', 'if they have any other questions for you, please don't hesitate to contact you', and leave any contact information. Keep it short and to the point, and it will speak volumes. Do not send an email. Seriously people, I love email, but it is impersonal. A hand-written note says so much more. Frankly, a small part of me would be offended if a potential hire sent me an email. Just not cool. 
Remember, from the second you step in the door until you leave, be gracious, respectful, and conduct yourself with class. The company may be about to take a chance on you; don't make them regret it. Most important, BE CONFIDENT. You have to believe that you are smart, beautiful, and competent (which you are). If you don't believe that about yourself, how can you convince and employer to believe that? You're awesome. Believe it. And go get 'em!

2 comments:

  1. The Thank You note is KEY! Three years later, my boss still talks about me being the only person who has ever sent her a Thank You in the mail after an interview

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    1. Isn't it?! I was advised to do it when I was interviewing for my college internships, and always found that it set me apart! And now, as the employer, it stands out to me when someone sends a follow-up note:) I love that your boss still talks about it!!

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