Graduation will quickly be upon us. For seniors this means you’ve either started job hunting or you’re preparing to do so. Daunting as interviewing may be, successful interviewing is a learned skill set.
Lucky for you, I’ve held a lot of jobs, meaning, I’ve successfully interviewed countless times. I’m here to lay down some tricks and tips I’ve accrued over the years. (Stay tuned for Part 2).
It’s all about body language.
How are you sitting right now? Are you hunched over looking at your computer? Did you even realize you were doing it?
Body language is often overlooked as a means of communication but it is something that is picked up on instantaneously from potential employers.
Maintain eye contact, good posture and don’t forget to smile, smile, smile! Do not cross your arms or rest your hand on your neck (it’s a sign of submissiveness) and try your hardest to resist fidgeting.
Body language relays confidence in oneself and actually influences your testosterone and cortisol levels. By upholding body language that embodies confidence, you will become more confident. In other words, fake it, till you make it.
There is a really great 20-minute Ted Talk on body language that everyone prepping for an interview should watch. Click here, for the YouTube link, you wont be disappointed. (Seriously guys, I recommend this).
Do your research
Research the position, the company itself and the people interviewing you.
I have an upcoming interview and on the confirmation call I asked whom I was to be interviewing with. That way I can look into their job role, their areas of expertise (it’s a position in academia) and uncover any commonalities between the interviewer and myself to make a connection. Interviewing is all about connecting with your potential employer.
Don’t forget to research the company’s mission (often listed on their web-page). It’s not uncommon for at least one interview question to be based how you personally would ‘fit’ or ‘align’ with your potential employer’s mission statement.
Know the position frontwards and backwards. That way if potential employers ask you questions regarding your qualifications, you won’t be caught off guard by anything. It shows potential employers that you are detail oriented as well. Sometimes employers will ask you questions about their lengthy job position listing just to see if you were thorough.
Lastly, check out the website, “Glassdoor” for reviews on the potential work-site you’re applying to. The site will provide feedback from people who have already been interviewed by that employer so you’ll know what to expect and have an idea about level of difficulty. All you have to do is “Google” the company/employer name with glassdoor.
If you’re curious as to what I mean, click here for an example of Glassdoor interview reviews for the CDC.
Be confident, gregarious, upbeat and relax (a little).
(& don’t be afraid to fake it, till you make it)
*Disclaimer* Don’t be this confident
One of my professors once told me, fake it till you make it and this could not be more applicable than when it comes to interviewing. You want to embody confidence even if you don’t feel confidant, be outgoing, even if you’re not feeling it that day.
Often times what is going to set you apart from other qualified applicants is whether or not the employer likes you.
Do you come off approachable? Are you friendly? I have been offered a job position over more qualified people solely based on my “interviewing” personality. Embody someone you’d want to be around.
Part of being approachable and engaging is not to seem too anxious or nervous. If you are an nervous-nelly (I know I can be), I definitely recommend watching the aforementioned TedTalk (listed above) for techniques on eluding confidence. Treat the interview as a conversation but with formality, such as speaking with one of your professors.
(Think sunshine, rainbows & unicorns)
People, it sounds silly but, this is crucial. I’m not saying be ingenuine, but be a more positive version of yourself. Anything that could possibly be construed negatively on your resume or about your history, convey the subject in a more positive light.
I know someone who left a job as a result of a toxic boss. When asked during an interview why he had left said job, the interviewee was honest, too honest. My friend later found out that was the deciding factor on why he didn’t get the job.
According to the employer, his answer made it seem like he could have issues responding to superiors (which in my opinion, is a stretch). But I digress. I’m not saying to lie in any interview but what I am saying is that sometimes less, is more.
In a situation like that a more appropriate response would have been something like, “I left the position because I needed something more challenging” or “there wasn’t enough potential for job growth.” Both responses are truthful pitfalls of that particular job while upholding a positive deposition.
Think of it as viewing your previous employment, history and background through rose-colored glasses.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of ‘Life Changing Interview Life Hacks.’
Article written by GUADS staff member, Jennie.