• Mon, Nov 19 2012

How Not To Blow The Interview Your Job Search Landed You

The job search is tedious, time consuming, exhausting, and a bunch of other things we don’t even want to bring up. The feeling of receiving an invitation to interview can leave you both overjoyed and overwhelmed. With growing fears of prolonged gaps of unemployment, especially for older job seekers, developing a job search strategy that really works means there’s no room to blow your chances of getting hired during your interview.

In fact, most mistakes job seekers make during the interview process are completely avoidable. Here are a few simple ways to nail your interview:

Do your research

As the interviewee, it’s your job to come into an interview with extensive company knowledge. Spend time learning the company website like the back of your hand, and make sure to familiarize yourself with their social networks and their blog as well. Read their latest news, know the names of executives, and most importantly, know their values and mission. Whether you’re fresh on the job market or an experienced worker, don’t fall into the trap of “winging it” when it comes to research. Your goal is to express your experiences and values in a way that aligns them directly with the company.

Study

If you’ve used information in your resume or application materials, you should know it — plain and simple. This is especially important if you are an older job seeker with a significant amount of experience on your resume. Consider an interview to be the most important test of your life. When studying your resume, it’s important to have an example for every skill and experience listed. Keep in mind all of the general interview questions, but also take time to delve deeper into your experiences. Write all of your questions and answers down and carefully read them over. To make sure that your memory holds and you don’t sound like you’re reading a speech, practice answering all of questions out loud.

Be timely

While anyone truly interested in a position would never be late to an interview, many candidates often arrive far too early. This can cause for an awkward experience as you wait in the provided area. Your interviewer may feel rushed and even bothered at your presence. Something as simple as this could start your interview off in a negative tone. Try to arrive no earlier than 10 minutes prior to your scheduled time. If you plan to be there on time and end up getting their sooner, take a few laps around the block and mentally review your resume.

Be aware

Fifty-five percent of people said that the main impact of meeting new people comes from the way they dress, act, or walk. A good impression during your interview depends on complete awareness in your outward appearance and body language before, during, and while exiting an interview. Remember to keep your dress professional, keep eye contact with whoever asked you a question, look pleasant, sit up straight and toward the front of your seat, and don’t fidget.

Be concise and direct

An interview is not the time to express every single detail of your employment history. When your interviewer asks you to tell them a little about yourself, make sure that you have an elevator pitch in place and that it’s no longer than a minute. Keep in mind that over explaining anything will make you look less qualified and unprepared. Your interviewers time is precious, make sure to be direct and play off their interests to learn when to share more during an answer.

Show confidence and positivity

While the job hunt might have you feeling negative and full of self-doubt, this is not the time to show any of it. An interview is a fresh start and an opportunity to set yourself apart from all of the other candidates. Warmth, positivity, and confidence are three simple ways to make others feel comfortable around you. Always try to keep a good sense of humor during an interview as well.

Ask the right questions

Always prepare at least three questions to ask after your interview. Stay away from the simple no-brainer and go for something deeper that expresses the amount of research and interest you have in the company. This part of the interview isn’t a time to suck up, either.

Say thank you

Some may say it’s outdated, but a handwritten thank you note is always a nice touch to the completion of an interview. This allows you to thank the interviewer on a more personal level. You thank you note should go into the mail the same day as the interview to ensure that it arrives promptly.

What are your tips for a flawless interview?

Amit De is the CEO and Co-founder of Careerleaf, an all-in-one job search platform that cuts the time to apply in half. Connect with Amit and Careerleaf on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Photo: Hasloo Group Production Studio/Shutterstock.com

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