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My Top 10 Tips for Jobseekers: The Interview

In my first two posts, I provided my top 10 resume tips, as well as accompanying cover letter tips.

So what do you do now that you’ve gotten a call for an interview? While interviews are easy for some, they are terrifying for others. However, we can all benefit from these reminders:

1. Be nice. Whether you’re talking to the receptionist, recruiter, hiring manager, or someone you pass on the way to the restroom, be pleasant to everyone. Your attitude is everything. 2. Ask the recruiter what the suggested dress is for the interview. Suits aren’t always the best idea in Oregon, and can occasionally backfire if it shows a lack of understanding of their work environment. I’ve always recommended business casual attire (think button-up shirt and slacks), and like the guideline of “dressing one step above the role.”

Hint:  Does the company create an apparel or footwear product? Weave this into your wardrobe, even if it’s just an accessory. 3. Be concise in your answers. It’s easy to ramble when you’re nervous. Give a summary answer, with an example integrated into it, then ask if they’d like you to elaborate. 4. Have examples. Many questions will relate to the duties and qualifications. Re-review the job posting beforehand and make sure you’re ready to explain your similar or transferable experience.

5. It’s okay to bring a cheat sheet.

Many are amazed when I recommend they write their examples down, so they can refer to them during the interview. It’s not a closed book test! This shows me you’re prepared!

6. Think “what, how and wow.” When they ask you for an example, summarize it as follows: what I did, how I did it, and what was the impact (“wow” factor). You don’t have to tell them about a project that went perfectly. In fact, telling us about one that had obstacles you had to overcome is stronger, because it shows you are a) human, and b) a problem solver. 7. Have at least five questions prepared.

Nothing irks me more than a candidate who says, “You’ve pretty much answered all my questions.” This shows zero curiosity. Trust me, there are always questions. This is your opportunity to learn valuable information and sound thoughtful as well by staying away from generic inquiries.

* Hint: NEVER inquire about pay or benefits during the interview. You'll have plenty of time to do that if offered the position. Questions should be focused on the job, the company, and the culture.    8. Take notes. This shows you are paying attention and want to remember what they’re telling you. Keep good eye contact, but if it helps, take notes!

* Hint: This also might inspire questions for the end of the interview. 9. Remember, interviews are a two-way street. Make mental notes about how the process was handled, and if you could envision yourself working with these individuals. Want to learn more about their culture? Here are 6 great ways to find out. 10. Smile, shake hands, say thank you. And don’t forget to breathe. Be gracious. Make sure to thank them both at the end and when you get home. Remember that no matter what happens, this was a learning experience.

What about afterwards? I love these 4 Non-Annoying Ways to Follow Up After an Interview In addition, coaches such as myself can help you one-on-one in honing your skills.

Questions? Please feel free to comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn!


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