Making it to the job interview stage means your skill set and resume have caught the interest of a potential employer, who now wants to determine if you’ll be a good fit as an employee of a company. Acing the interview is essential if you want to convince the employer that you’re the right person for the job.
“Employers are open to bringing in several candidates for job interviews, and this is the time for both the employer and the candidate to determine if they will be a good fit for each other,” says Joe Seitz, director of career services at Everest Institute-Grand Rapids. “The goal for the candidate is to receive a job offer, and the goal for the company is to find the perfect person for the job.”
Seitz and Everest Institute offer these tips to ensure that you walk away from your job interview and receive either a call back for a second interview or a job offer:
Practice makes perfect
Hundreds of websites provide traditional job interview questions, so think about what kind of answers you’d give for these questions. For example, “What is your worst quality?” could be turned into an opportunity to show your future employer you identify your faults, but are able to recognize opportunities to improve, with examples of how you’ve already taken steps in this direction. Employers ask these kinds of questions in many different ways, so think of actual examples and prepare mini-sound bites to describe your skills.
Although the interview is a great time to sell yourself to a potential employer, be careful not to go overboard. Embellishment may be tempting – particularly for young graduates – but employers want to know what you’ve really done. Communicate any career training you have and how it relates to the position.
“New graduates have a lot going for them, even if they don’t have a lot of experience,” says Seitz. “They can bring fresh ideas to the company, and are trainable to perfectly match what the company needs.”
Be yourself, and in cases where you lack experience, display a willingness and desire to learn the necessary skills.
Every interaction counts
Anyone you encounter within proximity to the interview setting can have a direct influence on its outcome. Having a positive and respectful attitude creates a more welcoming environment all around you and sets you up for success during the interview.
“Smile, be polite and greet every person you meet, from the moment you get into your car to drive to the interview to the time you arrive home,” says Seitz. “You never know when the person standing in line in front of you at the coffee shop prior to your interview could very well be the person you interview with later in the afternoon.”
Good follow-through is important and shows a potential employer that a candidate cares about the opportunity. Be sure to send a note to everyone who interviewed you thanking them for their time and consideration. Remember the interview is a formal process, so hand-write a thank-you note and send it through the mail.
Enhance your skills
Schools like Everest Institute cater to the demands of non-traditional students by offering fast-track programs, flexible classes and online education programs in popular fields, such as health care and accounting, allowing students to work or interview for jobs while enhancing their skills in the meantime.