It’s the season of graduations and job seeking. In addition, many places that closed or laid off workers due to COVID have begun searching for employees at this time. Whether you’re looking for your first job or your third (we all know it takes about 2 or more jobs to live in the US) you might be going on plenty of interviews in the near future. I can recall countless interviews for positions like retail associates to legal assistants, and I’ve always been told that I do well in interviews.
I think that the interview isn’t necessarily the hardest part when searching for a job. The hardest part is getting the interview because it can be overwhelming knowing where to apply, how to make your resume stand out, and presenting yourself as an asset before the employer ever meets you. Those things are hard, but the actual interview shouldn’t be. Think about it, if you’ve been chosen for an interview then the employer does have some interest in hiring you already, so focus on that positive and see how easy the interview really is. Hopefully my tips for interviews will make the process a little easier for you.
Tip 1: Be Prepared
Do your research before the interview. You shouldn’t ever go into an interview without knowing a little something about these four things:
- The Company. If you’re applying to Johnson and Johnson then you better know who they are and what they do.
- The Industry/Sector. Don’t apply to a Personal Injury Firm if you don’t know a thing about or have an interest in law.
- The Position. You should not apply to be a research analyst if you don’t know what a research analyst does.
- Back-up Position/Division. It’s common for employers to offer you a different position than the one for which you interviewed or even a position in a different department, if they think you will be a good fit. Do some research about the different positions in the company just so you have a general idea before the interview. This also goes back to knowing about the company.
Employers don’t expect you to be experts on their company, but they do check to see if you’ve done your homework. They want to know that you are serious and interested in them, especially since they took the time to interview you.
Tip 2: Be Honest
If you really struggle with prior research and knowledge or you get tripped up during the interview then just be honest and tell them that you are not aware of certain things but you are more than willing to learn. I’ve actually been complimented on my honesty right after answering certain questions in interviews. Sometimes you get nervous over every little thing, and it can cause you to be confused, to freeze up, or to forget what you know. Be honest – tell the interviewers that you need a moment, that you can’t recall but you have a general idea, or that you are willing to learn more and do more. Don’t ever lie! Not only is lying just so wrong, but it could definitely come back to bite you in the behind. I actually have this issue where I can’t help but respond with the truth when someone asks me a question, and I’ve had to practice giving general responses so that I don’t give away too much information. You can be honest, hold a little back, and still do well in an interview.
Tip 3: Ask Questions
It’s important to ask questions in an interview because it shows that you really are interested. I’ve always asked questions, so I can’t relate to not asking, but I’ve witnessed the awkwardness when the interviewer asks if someone has questions and they say “no”. Even if you only have one question, then ask it! Or, ask for them to clarify and/or expand on something they might have mentioned earlier. Show the interviewers that you are interested, you paid attention, and that you have something to offer by engaging them with questions of your own. As a bonus – bring a notebook! I bring notebooks to interviews that are filled with questions on one page, and blank spaces for notes on another. This way I don’t forget the questions I want to ask ,and I can write down the responses. In addition, I can write down the names of the interviewers, information that I wasn’t already aware of, and my thoughts in the moment on the interview itself.
Tip 4: Be Yourself
Don’t go into an interview and try to be someone that you are not. If you do that, you’ll have to continue doing so when you get the job! Do you know the standard question/statement, “Tell me about yourself” that you will hear in almost every interview you go on? Well, tell them about yourself! They already have your resume (bring extra copies just in case), so tell them something they can’t read on paper, but don’t overshare. Based on your resume, they already know your education, qualifications, experience, etc. Don’t try to fluff it up by telling them the things you think they want to hear or the things you think they want in a person. That’s not you! You don’t need to list all of your professional successes, especially if you’re not the type of person to usually do so. Instead, tell them about some of your more recent achievements in personal growth or things you hope to learn, even mention some things you like to do in your spare time to promote mental wellness and how important those things are to you when working on your work-personal life balance. Of course, you should be professional, but still be yourself!
Do you have any tips for interviews? If so, let me know in the comments below!