WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT JOB INTERVIEWS
As professionals, we are all faced with the unfamiliarity and impending stress of preparing for a new job at least once during our professional careers. Since preparation to find a new professional career path isn’t a common daily practice, it is important to have the proper knowledge circulating around the processes that give you the best advantage during your search.
With our comprehensive list of our best practices for any job search, from preparation prior to submitting your resume to the most favorable ways to prepare for the job of your dreams, we detail how to prepare for your next job interview step-by-step.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A JOB INTERVIEW
Understand the Requirements of a Professional in Your Field
Prior to creating a resume to send off to potential companies, it is critical to understand what companies are looking for in a candidate in your field or industry. Utilize job boards such as Google or LinkedIn to start exploring current open positions in the industry. Consider the skills, requirements, and languages that you have that will give you the advantage during your search as well as the requirements you may be lacking in.
If you find that there are skills that you are missing, this presents the opportunity for you to begin looking into ways to complete courses or to familiarize yourself with the required proficiencies to land similar positions.
Look Into Potential Companies You Are Interested In
If you have a particular company you are interested in, spend a few hours to learn about the business. Look into social media platforms, spend some time on Google, and reach out to previous connections to gain some insight. Get to understand what the company stands for or look deeper into any negative press.
Part of the job search process is to ensure that you will fit into the culture or that your beliefs align similarly with the company of your choosing. Searching and applying to new positions is time consuming and takes effort on your part. You never want to be in a position where you have successfully completed the job searching process only to find yourself at odds with the culture of your new company.
Sample the Product or Service
Regardless of the role you are interviewing for, it is important to fully understand the product or service that the company offers. Regardless if it is looking deeper into the services that the company offers or sampling the product, it is essential to understand how you can bring value to the company that you will be employed at by familiarizing yourself with the products or understanding how you can improve company processes.
As an added measure, look further into finding more information about the company by looking through reviews on Glassdoor and Google. Many times, this allows you to locate personal insider experiences about company growth or obstacles before summitting your resume. If you find yourself still interested in the company or position, Glassdoor reviews offers more insight on interview or job processes that allow for a better understanding of your career trajectory.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR RESUME FOR A JOB INTERVIEW
Narrow Down or Group Your Desired Positions
As a job seeker, it is easy to get carried away by applying to every position you find that is available with a “great” generic resume. It is important to remember that with the implementation of applicant tracking systems (ATS), it is more than likely that your resume will be filtered out with the 75% of other resumes when using a generalized format of your accomplishments.
Narrow down open positions to ones that you are interested in and meet required qualifications for. By concentrating on applying to positions you are qualified for, it increases your chances at landing an interview with the respective company.
The Importance of Which Format to Use
For most job seekers, a resume that is written in a chronological order allows employers to understand the progression of your career throughout the years you have been in the workforce. These resumes are typically best suited for candidates who have little to no employment gaps in their careers and are considered the most common format seen by recruiters.
For candidates that have experienced large gaps in employment or are looking to make a dramatic career change, it could be beneficial to create a functional resume. This style takes away the focus on the evolution of their career and aims attention on the skillset that you would be bringing to the company, regardless of industry or previous place of employment.
Incorporate Important Keywords
One of the best practices for resume writing focuses mainly on creating a resume that has the placement of keywords found throughout the job description. Implementing keywords in your resume is a successful tactic to land interviews for job candidates. When appropriate, begin to incorporate keywords and skills into your resume to allow you to pass ATS. Strategically optimizing your resume with keywords has been a proven successful method in giving your resume the best chance to reach a hiring manager's desk.
Many times, it is beneficial for job seekers to build out a section that highlights their skillset for recruiters or hiring managers to immediately locate. Typically hiring managers will take 6 seconds to look over resumes before deciding to move on to the next candidate. Building out a skills section allows for candidates to stand out immediately, luring managers by highlighting their strongest attributes.
Achievements Over Tasks
Though it is important for hiring managers to know of your core responsibilities during your previous places of employment, it is paramount for candidates to bring attention to any achievements or successes they had. Instead of highlighting daily tasks, keep your focus on items that make you a stand out candidate or ways that you were able to make a difference at your previous job.
Keep in mind that hiring managers want to hire candidates that will help make a difference once they are brought on board. Highlighting daily tasks only shows that you are simply capable of doing the job, rather than being the best candidate available for the position.
Use Quantifiable Metrics
As mentioned, it is important to highlight achievements or accomplishments on your resume to help you stand out to hiring managers. One of the best practices to allow you to support your claims, is to use quantifiable metrics to prove how your abilities have made a difference at your previous place of employment. By stating that you had “implemented a system that decreased turnover rates by 37%” has a much more impactful manner that helps support your claims than “created a system that retained employees” would.
Check for Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
Though this one is self-explanatory, always take the time to double, triple check for any spelling or grammar mistakes on your resume. When summitting a resume for a well desired position, a small spelling mistake could become the deciding factor again you and a similar candidate. Pass along your resume to family, friends, or a trusted colleague to help check for any errors that you may have missed during the process of editing your resume.
HOW TO HANDLE THE JOB INTERVIEW
Practice Potential Interview Questions
Do the work prior to your interview and look into potential questions that your potential employers may ask. Practice your answers to help highlight your accomplishments and skill set that will help resonate with the interviewer.
Be prepared to answer questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “why are you interested in this position”. Identify key factors that would support how you would be a great addition to the team, ways you are enthusiastic towards the position/company, and at all costs- avoid mentioning anything circulating around salary or benefits.
Get to Know Your Resume
Questions such as “tell me about yourself” are framed to give your interviewer the summary of your professional career. When prompted to answer this question, use this opportunity to highlight the best parts of your professional career by spending 2-3 minutes to speak about any achievements, projects, or measurable objectives that allow the hiring manager to get to know your worth.
Add in Your Numbers
Your resume should already contain numeric accomplishments such increases, quotas, or percentages that prove to the hiring manager your worth. During your interview, be sure to mention qualitative measurements to help prove how you have made a difference at your previous place of employment.
Think of a Way to “Pause”
Find a phrase that you can refer to when you find yourself needing a little bit of time to collect your thoughts. Instead of filling the silence with ums and uhs, repeat the questions or ask to come back to the question to give you a bit more time to consider an appropriate answer. Find a way to stall to gather your thoughts, rather than give an answer that misses the mark or is unfit for the situation.
Understand the Job Description
Besides from knowing your own achievements, it is important for you to prove to the hiring manager that you have assessed and fully comprehended what kind of candidate they would benefit from. Once you have identified the company needs, candidates can then begin to establish how their current skill set will be beneficial to the company. During the interview, it is critical to state the company needs and how your professional experiences will become beneficial.
During your process of researching the company, you should be able to identify dress code requirements prior to your interview. If not, it is always a safer option to choose a business professional look during your first meeting with the hiring manager. Stick to solid neutral colors such as black, gray, or navy during your interviews to prevent any bias and be sure that your footwear is clean as well as appropriate.
Find Your Confidence
Prior to your interview, it is completely normal to feel a bit nervous before you sit down with your interviewer. Be confident in your skills, personality, and what you are bringing to the table. Keep in mind that if you were not a good match for the position to begin with, there’s nothing you can say or do differently in an interview that will change the outcome.
Keep Your Body Language in Mind
Recognize that besides from what you are verbally saying, your body language communicates through your posture and stance. Avoid crossing your arms or coming off as too laid back and consider your other movements to avoid from being too distracting during your interview.
Before your interview, we recommend tucking away your phone or refrain from performing any activities that could force you to shrink into a “low power” pose previous to your interview. If you would like to avoid standing in a “Superman pose” in the middle of the waiting area, do your best to sit in an open and relaxed position while waiting.
HOW TO FOLLOW UP AFTER A JOB INTERVIEW
Send a Thank You Note
Before the end of the interview, be sure to exchange contact information with the person who had interviewed you. As soon as possible, send the contact or hiring manager an email, thanking them for the time they had taken to meet with you. By sending a thank you note, it could easily become the deciding factor between you and another similar candidate in the same interview process. This practice also assures that if the hiring manager had any additional questions, that they could ask you directly.
Follow Up with The Interviewer
If you have not heard back from the hiring manager after two weeks, send a follow up email. In the email, state the date and time you had previously met with the interviewer and kindly ask for any updates with your candidacy. Close out the email by letting the hiring manager know you would be happy to answer any additional question they may have.
Ask for Feedback
In the case that you do not find employment with the company you have interviewed at, send an email to the hiring manager asking for any feedback that could potentially help you during your next interview. This helps you to clarify if there was a better candidate, an internal hire, or if you did not possess the requirements to be successful in this role.