Even if you have only been in your current position for a short time, it never hurts to brush up on your interviewing skills before kicking off your job search.
If you are looking for a new role this year, here are ten excellent tips to revive your interview skills.
- Be prepared. This may be obvious, but researching the company and the person with whom you’ll be interviewing is paramount to proving your interest in the position as well as your knowledge of the industry. Preparation also means cleaning up your online image on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Photos from super bowl parties may not be the first impression you want to make with a potential employer.
- Arrive on time. Being late is inexcusable. But arriving 20 minutes early can make an interviewer feel rushed and start the meeting off with unnecessary tension. If your interview is scheduled for noon, show up between 11:55 and 11:59. In New York City (and other big cities), most buildings have security to pass through. Allow plenty of time to locate your destination and get through security. Then be prepared to wait nearby or in the lobby until five minutes before your scheduled time. Remember to shut off your cell phone.
- Know your resume. You should be able to explain every item on your CV in detail. Have your professional story down to a two or three minute pitch. Also be able to answer questions like, ’How long did you live at your previous address?’ and ‘In what year did you join Big Brothers Big Sisters?’ quickly and without hesitation. Some employers may be interested in why you chose your particular college or major, so brush up on details as far back as high school.
- Sell yourself. Most interviewers will ask why you moved on from each position listed on your CV. Make sure your job moves make sense, and have a truthful answer ready that highlights the goals and accomplishments you achieved in each position. This is a great opportunity to show your ambition and motivation to progress your career.
- Ask good questions. Don’t be afraid to take notes during your interview. Write down anything you’d like further clarification on in case you don’t have a chance to ask your question immediately. Many interviewers will ask you to prepare something for a follow up interview. Make sure you have all the details before you walk out the door. Good questions are just another way to indicate you are serious about the role.
- Look your best. This may not be as old school as it sounds. Be aware of the company culture and dress code. When in doubt, men should wear a suit, and women should wear their best professional attire. But, if you are certain of a more casual environment, a good rule of thumb is to dress up one notch. Obvious hygiene and grooming aside put your best foot forward - shined shoes, crisp shirt, manicured nails and a haircut never hurt. Hipsters, you may want to trim those beards.
- Practice. The more interviews you go on, the better you will get and the more confident you will be. On average a company will interview 7 - 9 people to fill one position. It makes sense to go on as many interviews as possible. Don’t get discouraged. It really is a numbers game.
- Follow up ASAP. Don’t let more than 24 hours pass before following up with a brief thank you email. Keep it short and sweet, stressing your interest and opening the lines of communication for further questions. But, don’t over do it. The longer and more detailed the email, the more opportunities for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and other red flags to be raised.
- Be discreet. Know the administrative details of your current role. Discreetly find out your current employer’s policies on notice periods and paid time off. If you have future commitments requiring time off from work, no need to mention this (unless asked) to a potential employer until an offer is firmly in your hands.
- Be honest. Depending on industry and company policy, be prepared for any number of background screenings including credit checks, criminal checks, reference checks, educational verifications and/or drug tests. Employers may also want proof of your current compensation and request to see a recent paystub. Be honest and realistic during salary negotiations. Fill out physical applications as accurately as possible. This document may seem like a formality when you are filling it out, but this information will be used for any future paperwork needed for you to be employed by the company. Tell the truth and don’t exaggerate. Nothing kills a job offer faster than a lie.
You should be able to explain every item on your CV in detail. Have your professional story down to a two or three minute pitch.
The interview process can be frustrating at times, but it will have all been worth it once you land that next great role. So, what are you waiting for? Start your job search off on the right foot today with a visit to Robert Walters to see what exciting roles we have open.
Interviewing for a new role? Avoid these common interview mistakes.
For more information, contact:
Edward Hooper, Consultant
Robert Walters, New York