I’ve been on the job hunt for a month now. It’s still frustrating and exhausting, but at some point throughout the month, I’ve usually had some kind of lead on a good potential job. I’m excited to say that I’ve been on a few interviews now and although I’m definitely NO expert, I feel that I’ve had a quality knack for interviewing (now and in years past).
I went on a wonderful interview yesterday that I think went really well. The position is for a Marketing Coordinator at an Architect and Engineering Firm. (Prayers greatly appreciated!) The job description was right up my alley and I think I could really benefit the company over the next few years with my experience. After walking out of that interview, I realized that I had some pretty great pointers for future interviewees so I thought the good ole’ blog would be the place to share that!
Professional, but comfortable.
The outfit tends to be super important because it’s technically the “first impression”. I know they saw your resume first, but when you walk into that office after landing an interview, they immediately are checking out what you’re wearing and how you’re wearing it. You’ll hear over and over to wear pant or skirt suits for interviews. I may have a slightly different view point on this topic. I think you should dress professionally, but you should also be comfortable. You’ll make a better impression in something that is clean cut and classic while looking completely in control of who you are than if you wore an uncomfortable suit and those feelings showed through the interview. My classic look is a pair of black slacks, a sharp pointed no taller than 1″ heel, and a solid color shirt that has sleeves. I usually carry a cardigan or blazer with me in the event it’s chilly in the office. No flashy jewelry, but a simple necklace shows taste.
1. Don’t wear anything too tight or revealing.
2. Don’t wear really tall heels.
3. No flashy jewelry.
4. Wear what makes you feel confident and in control, but is also still professional.
5. If you’re uncomfortable breaking out of the norm of a pant or skirt suit and you feel like you wouldn’t get the job in anything else, then by all means… do what feels right for you and wear that pant suit!
Again, I realize others may disagree, but I believe that this outfit shows your professionalism, while keeping you comfortable in order to interview well and the company can picture themselves working along side you like this.
(*note: At times it may be more appropriate to wear a business suit depending on the size of the company and it’s professional atmosphere)
Before the Interview
1. Write a list of questions to ask them at the end of the interview.
I personally like to ask about the office atmosphere, the dress code and the various leadership styles of whoever will be my supervisor.
2. Have answers ready for difficult questions.
A lot of interviewers like to ask about your strengths and weaknesses. This is usually a difficult question to answer, so be sure to have 2-3 answers for each. I suggest you brainstorm a list of possible questions they may ask so you can prepare answers. The truth is, they probably won’t end up asking you those questions, but this gives you practice with answering difficult questions.
3. Practice answering the difficult questions in front of the mirror.
This will help you get comfortable with your answers and confident in yourself before you actually interview.
4. Research the company
Companies like to know that you have a little knowledge about what they do and the type of business they run. Research their website and see what you can find. It could be a gold mine of knowledge that will put you ahead of the other interviewees.
5. What to bring to the interview
Be sure to have everything together before hand so you know what to bring with you to the interview. I usually like to have my planner and pen. This way, if they start discussing possible start dates, I’m ready. My planner has a section for me to write in. If yours does not, then I suggest bringing a notepad and pen to take notes. Bring an extra copy of your resume and cover letter as well as some past work you’ve done (this may be in the form of a portfolio or a few pieces of paper that show your work).
During the Interview
2. Take deep breaths often
3. Sit up Straight and stay focused.
I usually have my hands folded together on the table top in front of me. I feel like I create a positive posture for myself and I’m comfortable and in control this way.
4. Be an active listener.
As they are speaking about the position be sure to use head gestures to let them know that you understand what they are saying or that you agree.
After the Interview
1. Send a thank you card or an e-mail.
For most people, an e-mail is ideal and that works great, but if you know it will be a few days before you hear back, then take the time to write a personal thank you card. Thank them for their time and consideration. Let them know that after speaking with them and reviewing the job description, you think you’d be a great fit with the company and that you look forward to hearing back from them once the final decision is made.
1. If you’re doing a phone interview, still dress professional so that you feel professional. You’ll interview better. Also, smile. People can hear a smile over the phone.
2. If you’re doing a group interview then find ways to stand outside the crowd. Don’t be pushy with others or interrupt others. Show professionalism through your actions. Answer as many questions as you can without being the only person in the room talking. (This may be the southern hospitality in me, but I would much rather show maturity and respect to others during a group interview than show them how wonderful or exceptional I am by interrupting people and being the only person talking).