If it’s time to find a new job, that means it’s time to go on interviews. You know, those painful awkward conversations where the person sitting across from you is focused on judging every aspect of you. Fun times! Whether you’re intent on finding solicitor jobs or finding fast food jobs, there are some basic things that will help you get through the interview. Here are 10 tips.
1. Look happy to be there. If you go in, looking and acting like you’d rather stick pins in your eyes than do this interview, the interviewer won’t see you in a positive light. Granted, you may not be happy to be there, but attempt to do an attitude change in the car. Remember, if you get this job you won’t have to interview any more and that should make you happy.
2. Don’t worry about crazy recruiter rules. Some recruiters are nuts. They’ll reject you because you have scuff marks on your shoes, because you ask a question like, “how long will the interview take?” or judge you by your handshake. You can’t predict these and you can’t win. So, don’t worry about them. Just focus on being generally polite and well groomed.
3. Do worry about your wardrobe. Yes, you can wear pants. But, unless you’re interviewing for manual labor you probably shouldn’t wear jeans. If possible, scope out the company beforehand and take a look at how the current employees are dressed. Then, unless they are all wearing suits, you dress one step higher. If they are wearing suits, you wear one too. If they are wearing business casual, you wear a suit. If they are wearing jeans, you wear business casual.
4. Make sure you answer the question the interviewer is asking. This may seem silly, but lots of people have a set of things they want to say and somehow try to push it into the conversation. Now, granted, sometimes interviewers stink and ask really dumb questions. Once you’ve answered it, you can then add on the part that they should have asked. For instance, when you’re asked, “What’s your biggest weakness?” what they should have asked is, “Tell me how you’ve overcome a challenge?” So, answer the biggest weakness question, but add in how you’ve overcome it.
5. Have your research done. Don’t go into an interview not knowing what the company does. You have the internet, use it. No excuse for not using it.
6. If you’re meeting in a restaurant, don’t go all picky. Yes, you can get your favorite drink at Starbucks as long as it’s not fussy and you accept whatever the barista hands you at the end. Don’t argue with a waitress and don’t ask for massive substitutions. If you have allergies, you can, of course, make sure your waitress understands that, but if you allergic to pine nuts, then for heaven’s sake, don’t order the pesto. If you ask the waitress to have the chef prepare you pine nut free pesto you look picky and demanding. Don’t do that.
7. Speak positively about your previous jobs. Everyone knows that your last job wasn’t perfect. The thing is, though, when you whine and complain about your last job, your interviewer only sees you as a potential problem, rather than a potential solution to their problems. Yes, you can mention the problems as a reason for why you’re looking for a new job, but it’s preferable to focus on why this new opportunity is a positive direction for you.
8. Practice, practice, practice. There are a million lists of sample interview questions. Chances are your interviewer will use one of these lists, or ask similar questions anyway. But, don’t panic about which list to practice with, just pick one and have a friend hold a practice interview. If possible, this should be a friend who has hired before. The point, though, is to practice answering and thinking on your feet.
9. Know your stuff. A lot of interviews, especially with recruiters, focus on the fluffy stuff. But, the hiring manager should get technical on you. If you’ve been unemployed for a while, or if you’re looking for a job that isn’t precisely what you have been doing recently, you should brush up on your skills. Get up on industry literature. Be prepared to answer the hard questions.
10. Ask the right questions. Often, people focus on questions about benefits or pay in an interview. But, those are questions best left for the negotiation phase. Instead, ask questions about what problems they are facing, how this role fits in with others, what challenges lie ahead and about the company culture. These things not only give you important information, they also give you the opportunity to explain how you can help solve the problems they face, and what you can bring to the role.